Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hot Yoga Sweat-iquette

I had a pretty disgusting yoga experience yesterday.

One of the great things about the hot yoga studio downtown is their 11-class punch card with a one year expiration date. This allows me to show up for class every three to five weeks without worrying about classes expiring... and also allows enough time for me to forget how much I don't really like hot yoga at all.

That's not entirely true. I love the feeling of hot yoga - I love being warm - I love the deep stretch that feels otherwise impossible in our cold foggy climate. I also really dig the teacher. But yesterday I was packed into the small space, 2 inches from the wall, and surrounded on three sides by sweaty men.

I can't find anything on the internet about protocol or etiquette for excessive sweat in hot yoga. But the dude next to me had a constant dripping of sweat from five minutes into the class. His shirtless body was covered in sweat pouring out of every pore. The short towel he brought to class was soaked to the point where it needed a trip to the bathroom to be wrung out. It squished under his feet, and it sloshed like a sponge while he rolled out his spine. His sweat was flinging onto the floor around him and forming huge puddles. And some of his sweat drops landed on my mat.

 Needless to say, I was absolutely horrified and grossed out. The presence of dudes in the hot yoga room always makes for a sweatier, wetter class, and the mirrors always fog up. On the bright side, at least this dude didn't stink. 

What should he have done? What could he have done? What should I have done? What would you do?
Would you complain? Yeah, me neither. Photo Credit.
 When I complain about the class to my fam and to E, they ask, "then why do you go?" Good question, to which I don't really have a good answer. I think I'm going to have to let this current teacher go, and try out some less-sweaty, less-masculine classes and see if they fit.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012


I've been thinking a lot about stories... the stories that we build over time without being aware that we're creating them. What if I detached myself from the personal story I've been creating for years - what that would mean?

Stories are expectations. They can be current and deliberate, or they can be a product of many many years of life. They can be residual from childhood, they can stem from a particular experience - the only thing they have in common is that there are no rules or parameter for the stories. They are as varied as the people who create them.

How will I accomplish anything in this life if I don't live up to my own expectations - if my story doesn't come true?

A better question is perhaps, How will I accomplish anything in this life if I am wallowing in self-pity and regret that my story isn't playing out how I want it to?

My goal is to recognize my story for what it is: an expectation of myself that is preventing me from being happy. My story has no relevance anymore. No one is judging me, and if they are I shouldn't care.

My new story isn't a story at all. It's a promise to myself that I will love myself, and that a beautiful story will unfold before me.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sunday Run

I'm currently planning on running only once per week. I know this isn't very much running for a "runner", but I want to be able to really enjoy that one run. I'm going to rekindle my love affair with being on the trail and covering ground. So Sunday is my running day, and I'm planning on an hour, or if things go well after that hour, until I feel like stopping.
Only once a week?!
 Yesterday was so gorgeous - warm and sunny - finally. I ran for an hour, just like I'd planned and I didn't have any negative thoughts, headaches, or desire to quit. When I felt like walking, which was at the half-way point, I walked for a good five minutes. I ran over 10 wooden bridges that spanned the creek, through redwoods and fern gullies.
Photo credit
The end of my beautiful run through Fern Canyon put me out at the beach where I laid in the sand for another hour overwhelmed at my bliss: warm sun, tired body, ocean waves crashing at my feet. The only thing that got me up was the thought of enchiladas for dinner. 
Photo Credit

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Carrot Cake and Champagne

 I had a great workout yesterday that included the 45-minute P90X video, Chest and Back. I probably did 100 pushups from my knees, and at least 150 "pullups" with the bands. It was a beautiful day, so I did the whole workout outside, working on my tan, reveling in the finally-sunny-and-warm weather, and listening to the Giants beat the Phillies on the radio (sick!)...

No, I do not strive to look like Tony Horton, but I have always had a fairly easy time building muscle on my upper back.

... but a Not-so-easy time losing fat around my middle and building muscle around my core - I've never seen much definition in my abs.
I'm a little sick of the P90X 15-minute Ab Ripper video, so I turned to for their 25 Minute Abs and Obliques video. I mixed up a few of the exercises, like the pushup hold, because my arms were shot.

Mendocino Music Festival
Mendocino Music Festival: Photo from Visit Mendocino County
 And as planned, I made a ridiculously simple and delicious 5 Minute Carrot Cake from Chocolate Covered Katie, a new healthy dessert blog that I'm loving! We slathered it in cream cheese frosting, popped open a bottle of local sparkling wine, and claimed a picnic table down on the headlands and listened to the last night of music from the Mendocino Music Festival tent. We were fortunate enough to hear songs such as "Ballet of Chicks in Their Shells". Ummm..... yeah.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Striving for Greatness - Mt. Shasta

I am happiest when I am making progress. Progress towards anything, really, whether its planning a vacation, stacking wood, working on our house, cooking a great dinner, running 10 miles, or working out for two hours till I can't walk. Making progress requires a sense of purpose, I believe. Each action that I take during the day is driven by the idea that it serves a purpose - if I vacuum the living room, I won't have to inhale dog hair when I do yoga later on - if I split and stack wood, we'll be warm this winter - if I spend a lot of time planning this vacation, we'll have a smoother time once we're traveling - if I run 10 miles, I'll feel hungrier for the gigantic plate of nachos I'm going to eat for dinner - if we work tirelessly on our house until it's done, we can rent it out sooner and start a financially-independent lifestyle that I'm so desperate for. You get the idea.

This concept is really important to me. I feel really good about my direction, and have a great sense of self-worth, when I am making measurable progress towards a tangible goal. Anyone who makes lists can probably identify with this concept. A lack of this seems to be the source of a lot of my frustration.

Along the lines of tangible goals I've set my sights on Mt. Shasta for the end of the summer. I attempted to climb this mountain in 2006 with E and his brother. We didn't make the top, so naturally I'm jonesing to try again. Here are some photos of our adventure.

Mt. Shasta
Driving to Bunny Flat Trailhead
Looking up to the Red Banks from Helen Lake
View of Black Butte and the Trinity Alps
Lunch break
Traversing from Green Butte Ridge to Helen Lake
Green Butte Ridge
Gazing over Casaval Ridge from Helen Lake as the sun sets
Dinner time
Shasta Mountain Guides setup
View of the Trinity Alps from the Red Banks
Snowy ridge
Red Banks - tiny tents visible in a line near the center
Red Banks - stopping point for this crew
Packing up for the descent

Thursday, July 19, 2012

My Moment of Zen - The Perfect Green Smoothie

In the past month I have suffered from severely intense migraines - not the kind of migraines where I'm vomiting and unable to speak English, but bad enough where I don't want to get out of bed, can't have the lights on, have no appetite, definitely can't exercise, and don't want to think very hard. Pretty bad. I spent a lot of time doing research on nutrition, exercise and migraines and I hope to do a longer post on it later. One thing I did learn in my quest to eliminate "trigger" foods from my diet was how to finally make a decent green smoothie.

The info came from The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen: their focus on gluten intolerance makes them a very attractive resource for me. To weed out nutritional intolerance, whatever they may be, they recommend an "elimination diet" based on green smoothies. I admit, I didn't really follow any particular recipe on their site because a lot of the recommended fruits contain Tyramine, a known migraine trigger. This afternoon following my yoga practice I drank a concoction of blueberries, cherries, some mango chunks, a big handful of spinach, a spoonful of unsweetened applesauce, some chilled ginger water I made last night, chia seeds, a chunk of broccoli, and a strawberry. Bananas are out, plums and raspberries are out, all citrus is out, and avocados are definitely out.

The green smoothies I make are rarely green. They are more often a sick-looking brown color, so getting the taste right is KEY. If it looks sick and tastes okay, I'm not going to drink it. If it looks okay and tastes GREAT, I'll demolish it and lick the blender clean.

Wouldn't we all rather be eating donuts?
Here is what I learned about green smoothies:
  •  Don't hold back on the blender - blend for a long, long time to eliminate chunks of leafy greens floating in your drink
  • Add cherries. Definitely add cherries.
  • Green apples add a lot of flavor - tart flavor!
  • Adding ginger water is tastier than adding plain old water. Steep some ginger in boiling water for 30 minutes then strain out the chunks.
  • Blueberries and strawberries are delicious, good for you, and help with the color, but your smoothie is still going to be a shade of reddish brown. Probably not green.
  • Kale does not break down very well in my blender. Spinach works out much better.
  • You don't need bananas.
The green smoothie mentioned above is pretty much the best part of my day now. I sit on the couch with my eyes closed and drink it very, very slowly, allowing the flavor to permeate my being. It's a relaxing but invigorating experience that makes my day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Lots to Think About

My dog has decided she's a three year old human who gets scared shitless from bad dreams in the middle of the night and has to wake up mom and dad over and over until they loose it. The bonus of her being a dog (for us) is that we can take her out to sleep in the car, which she loves. This is not something you should do with a toddler, so I'm told. The downside is that I'm finding it really difficult to fall back asleep at 3 am, which leaves me plenty of time to think. Surprisingly, I was able to avoid negative, stressful thoughts and tried to focus on positive, proactive measures I can take to pull myself out of this funk.

3+ years ago E and I did a round of P90X - his idea, not mine. I'm usually game for anything active that doesn't involve immersing myself in cold water, so we ripped purchased the whole program off the internet and got started. We were immediately beat down in submission. As the first two months went by I remember being constantly cold and having an appetite that just wouldn't quit. I think I actually gained a few pounds overall, but I looked way better. I actually had an 'ass crease', which was an exciting first for me. We completed month three halfheartedly because we were already so ripped and badass that we clearly didn't need it. Ahem.

The .mpg files are collecting virtual dust in a folder on my desktop labeled "Workout" - I think I'm going to brush them off, rework the overall plan to incorporate some running, and see what happens.

She looks so innocent

Monday, July 16, 2012


Lately, I've become apprehensive about blogging. I've pulled back, reigned it in, and turned the corners in on myself. I no longer feel confident that what I want to say will come out right. I hate the idea of divulging my true self, especially to people that "know" me. I am afraid that they will judge me, and that I won't live up to their expectations.

I don't write anymore, but I still devour the regular content of my favorite blogs as often as they provide new content, and I am inspired by their accomplishments, and their unwavering ability to dip into this deeply supportive well of community that exists on the internet. The fitness blogging community is full. It is deep and broad and wide, and all things that I need right now.

Support and community suddenly seem important to me. I want to feel like I'm making a difference, even if it is small. I want to feel like someone cares about me, and thinks that what I'm putting together on this site is worthwhile and interesting. Blogging can be as mundane as a diary entry, as easy as a re-post, or as profound as a full-disclosure call for help. I want, and desperately need, a change in my life. Everyone has a (re)start somewhere, and this blog is where you will find mine.

I've been going through a lot of changes in the past 6 months and I am feeling more and more desperate, worthless, alone and trapped. While that's a lot of baggage to unload on a blog, I'm not hoping for it to do anything more than ignite a personal healing, and a resurgence of connection to my own worth, power and dynamic self.

The changes I'm talking about are numerous and varied, and cover a lot of personal ground. It sounds like a mid-life crisis, and yes, I'm only 30, but I'm sure that further research will reveal a 1/3-life crisis to be a documented event. To illustrate the finer points, here are some things I think about and get all worked up over:
Running: Should I be training? Would I be more distracted from what might be 'depression' if I had a training schedule?
Money: Is eBay enough? Should I be working on an internet business that revolves around blogging?
Future: Will we buy a sailboat? Will it take up too much time and money, and is it what we really should be doing?
Travel: If we buy our sailboat, or spend every waking moment and every earned penny, trying to reach this goal, will I have to put off dreams of travel for 10 years? More?
Job: Should I have a job if everything I want requires money?
Does everything I want require money? Can I travel without it? Can I live comfortably and support our family without it?
There is no end to my questioning. It becomes a deep, deep hole that I tumble into until I have no way back out except to cry. This is not who I want to be, but it is who I have become. This fact - the idea that I have "failed myself" - has profound impacts on my personal relationships (it is hard for others to love us if we do not love ourselves. The inverse of this concept - loving the self so deeply that others cannot help but love us too - is what allowed me to fall deeply in love with E).

I found this quote today on facebook and immediately felt like it must have been posted just for me - this is the power of the internet (and books for that matter): we are able to make connections, glean meaning, and deepen our lives without personally experiencing the "source".
"For what it’s worth: it’s never too late or, in my case, too early to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit, stop whenever you want. You can change or stay the same, there are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. And I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people with a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of. If you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start all over again.

― F. Scott Fitzgerald
Basically, life is an adventure of our own making.