Saturday, November 2, 2013

back in business...but where are all the photos?

Well, hello!

It's been a while. Since my last post, I finished my first 40 Days program, received my Master's degree, got married, honeymooned in Croatia, got a full-time job, and started a yoga teacher training program.

I've been busy, so blogging wasn't exactly at the top of my list of priorities. For the past seven (holy crap, seven!) months, I was more focused on my career and family than Internet Fun Times, and to be honest, I was a little stuck with blogging and fitness anyway. I was throwing myself head first into intense yoga, and that process of self-inquiry seemed to be better served by being a bit more private.

I also had a moment over the summer where I thought this blog was officially dead, and I placed a bit DNR stamp on it. I set up a Google+ profile so I could view and access our wedding photos more easily (our photog is a google-ite), and unknowingly deleted three years worth of blog photos from all corners of the Internet by deleting them from my Google+ profile. AHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

Basically, whatever you upload on Blogger used to end up on Picasa, which got imported into Google+ when you signed up. I didn't want pictures of my meals and various and sundry fitness shots since March 2011 on my profile, so I deleted the album. Google didn't warn me that I was deleting these images from my blog too (complete and utter bullshit!). Sadly, not only do I not have every crappy photo of leafy greens I took in the past three years, I do not have the time to go back through my 100+ posts and add them back. It's somewhat comforting that this has happened to other people, but still exceedingly frustrating and makes me want to leave this little corner of the Internet I spent so much time nurturing and run in the other direction.

But I don't think I will, because I miss writing for fun, and I miss the motivation and purpose that writing this blog gave to me. So my posts might be sporadic and on a range of different topics, but I'll be here. Hopefully with photos that won't be expunged from the Google-machine. HARRUMPH.

Here, have a wedding picture. Hopefully it will make up for the complete lack of others on the blog and bring this post to a happy end. :)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

#wiaw: 40 days fruit feast

It's been crazy around these parts for the past few weeks! It feels like I've either been at the studio or getting work done every moment, but the good news is I only have about 20 pages of writing and some editing left between me and my Master's degree! I'll be on campus two more days for academic purposes, holed up in my office for a week or so, and then -- freedom! Huzzah.

Overall, the 40 Days program has been going well. I can't believe we are more than halfway done! I am becoming more adventurous in my asana practice, and for the most part, I look forward to getting sweaty every day :)

This week, part of the challenge is a 3 day fruit fast/cleanse/feast, during which you consume only fruits! Lucky for us, tomatoes, cucumber, zucchini, and peppers all count as fruit, so when we crave something savory those foods are life savers.

I'm on day three of the feast right now, and I feel pretty normal. I've been a little hungrier than normal and have craved things like bread and cheese, but I am happy to be getting toxins out of my system. For someone who already has very conscious eating habits, I feel like the cleanse is less about learning about your own willpower and more about appreciating food for what it is, which I often forget to do!

Here's what I ate on Day 1 of the cleanse, minus a few random pieces of fruit I ate as snacks (oranges, apples, bananas). Day 2 looked similar, except I made a tomato-red pepper soup in my slow cooker for dinner! Breakfast was a big ol' plate of cantaloupe, grapes, a banana, and a pear. Lunch was a smoothie made with pineapple, banana, and coconut water. Dinner was guacamole with cucumber chips! I really, really missed corn chips during this meal. Alas.

Have any of you done 40 days? What was your experience with the fruit feast?

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

namas-day: 40 days week two - vitality

I had intended to write this post Monday night, but the tragedy at the Boston Marathon made it seem so inconsequential. Even though I haven't run a marathon and likely never will, the events really shook me as a runner and a supporter of my many marathon-running friends. I've been in a funk since yesterday afternoon and haven't quite made it to the other side at this point. I keep thinking about how impermanent our individual marks on the world are; it's hard not to immediately fall somber in that thought cycle. I'm hoping that thinking hard about my yoga practice will allow me to get back in touch with my me-ness and my own inner vitality; if we are so impermanent, I should be inspired to live a fuller, more joyful life every day.

I wore a race shirt today in solidarity with Boston.

This theme is closely tied to the "breakthrough" I established for my 40 Days program.  While, of course, I am participating in part for the physical benefits of a rigorous yoga practice, we have been encouraged to dig deeper and figure out a personal breakthrough to which yoga could lead us. My focus will be on stillness, defined through non-reactivity. I find that I spend a lot of precious moments letting my mood (and even entire days or weeks) be taken hostage by events out of my control. Of course, there are times when you can do little to change your feelings, such as in the wake of tragedy. But it's important to recognize the difference between true emotion and simple overreaction, and how to harness your negative energy into something more productive.

Week Two was tough for me. I often felt tired and like I didn't want to practice. But I got on the mat allowed yoga to do what it does best: center and ground me. Unfortunately, I felt the opposite of vitality  most of the time: my body was struggling with adapting to a daily yoga practice and man, did I feel it. But I'm already feeling the difference in my body at the beginning of Week Three.

On the mat, I felt like I had some mental breakthroughs during Week Two. I've accepted that I'm awesome at some difficult poses and suck at some simple ones. I laugh when I fall out of Half Moon over and over, and most importantly, I steady myself and try again.

I'd like to take that determination and stillness off the mat. After each rejection letter and disappointment (of which, sadly, there have been many, thanks to our current job market), I hope to steady myself, make any necessary corrections, and try again.

Realizations like this are why I push my loved ones -- often times to a neurotic extent -- to try out yoga. The benefits are so much more than physical.

Until soon, friends. Be safe and hug everyone you love. 

Monday, April 8, 2013

namasday: 40 Days Week 1 + Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Recap

The past week has flown by, probably because it has been an exciting one, filled with my first seven days of 40 Days to Personal Revolution and the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler!

40 Days: Days 1-7
I've been enjoying 40 Days so far! Something that was really unexpected for me after I began to read Baptiste's book and after our first meeting was the amount of personal inquiry included in the program. Certainly my goals coming into the program had to do with yoga and eating well, but I'm also realizing that perhaps I came to the program to preserve a sense of myself while I'm going through a lot of changes.

This week I completed six asana practices, as the program prescribes, including one verrrrrry early in the morning; I had to get into the studio before my marathon of Tuesday classes.  Tuesday will normally be my rest day, but this week I had to suck it up and get to class because I knew I would want to rest after the 10 Miler on Sunday!

Post-yoga glow!'s probably the sweat.

Besides getting up early, the program definitely has its challenges. By Saturday afternoon my legs were creaky and my shoulders were sore.  I really did not want to go to the afternoon class; curling up on the couch with Jake and carbo-loading for the race seemed so much better. But I showed up anyway, which helped me clear my head and get into pre-race mode.

I've also had trouble getting into a regular meditation routine. Especially on busy days, it was really hard to set that time aside. I hope to improve my meditation record this week.

Last week's theme was presence, and the studio helped us do a lot of reflecting about what being present looks like to us. I've realized that when I'm not present my relationships definitely suffer and I'm more reactive. Focusing on being present is helpful to analyze my own emotions and the reasons behind my feelings.

I've also been fairly successful with the coffee cut back- I only had five cups last week (one before the race, as is my ritual), which I think is a heck of a lot better than the 10-15 I was drinking before!

Cherry Blossom 10 Miler Race Recap!
Perhaps the race deserves its own post, but I like to think that my asana practice this week contributed to me achieving goals I otherwise thought were unattainable!

The Cherry Blossom 10 Miler was such a great race. I complained a lot about training for it and wasn't sure if I could even run 10 miles, but I did! I chalk it up to having the support of Mike and Gina and, for the most part, sticking to my training plan even when I really wished I didn't.

I got up around 5:30 to get to the race by 7 (one of the downsides of living further out in Virginia, for sure). I was a little tired since my sleep had been a bit fitful, but I was excited for the race, so I got my butt moving onto the bus and metro after a PB&J on Ezekiel bread and some coffee.

The race was huge! The energy at the start was definitely electric. I caught this cool shot of people warming up while I waited for Gina to arrive.

Love the Capitol in the distance!
Gina and I set up near the 9 min/mile pacer, but we quickly blew past him. My plan had been to save up my energy and run around a 9 min mile for about the first half of the race, but that proved difficult. Gina and I weaved about the crowd (which eventually caused Gina to take a tumble into a lamppost -- so scary! she got right back up though, cause she's a champ!) and when we hit the Memorial bridge she upped the ante and took off to about an 8:19 pace. Since my goal pace was 8:30, I let her scurry off ahead, turned up my Ben Folds running mix, and found my stride.

I really enjoyed the course. A lot of folks have been saying how "boring" it is, but I never get tired of beautiful sites, and this race was a great reminder of DC's beauty. My least favorite part was the trek out to Hains Point -- brr! The wind was wicked and I was very glad for my long sleeves. I was grateful for the spectators dotted along the course, and felt so special when they shouted out my name, which was printed on my bib.

I zoomed into the finish at around 7:15 for the last quarter mile. I have no idea where that energy came from, but I was happy to be done and proud of my accomplishment!

Mike and I metro-ed back to our place, changed, and got a delicious (and fairly balanced, I think) breakfast at The Silver Diner!

Now I'm off to yoga and eager to stretch out these tired legs. Namaste!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

#wiaw: polish easter dinner

By far the most interesting and delicious thing I've eaten in the last week has been my Polish Easter dinner!

Polish Easter is a pretty easy meal to put together, at least the way we do it, so Mike and I decided to have this be the first holiday we hosted as a family unit. My cousin and her husband came over and we had a really lovely, relaxing weekend and enjoyed stuffing ourselves with delicious food on Sunday afternoon.

On the menu (clockwise from top left):

  • Hard boiled eggs, dyed with blueberries
  • Ham (szynka cygaƄska)
  • Kielbasa (Polish sausage)
  • Cole slaw in a vinaigrette 
  • Polish potato salad
  • Our family's favorite "pineapple souffle" recipe, which is decidedly not Polish
  • Bread baked with my great-grandmother's recipe, which my uncle sent us
  • (Not picture) Poppy seed roll for dessert!
The great thing about Polish Easter is that if you have a good Polish or Slavic deli you can find all the important parts of the meal. If you're in the DC area, I recommend The Kielbasa Factory in Rockville. 

Other families do a lot more cooking from scratch than we do and prepare soups or their desserts by hand- perhaps that will be us one day! I did receive a Polish cookbook for my bridal shower...:)

Hope you all had a lovely holiday!