Wednesday, April 30, 2014


Usually at work, I eat a mid-morning snack around 10:00.  I almost always have two torillas filled with spinach and blue cheese crumbles.  Sometimes I eat them over the course of an hour or so, sometimes I eat them both at once.

Then usually around 12:30, I'm getting hungry, but I always try to finish "just one more thing" and usually end up getting up around 1:00 or 1:15 to go microwave a frozen meal and eat at my desk -- sometimes while reading blogs, sometimes while continuing to work. 

Today, I was hungry around noon, and then very hungry by 12:45, when, as usual, I tried to finish something up.  I made it to the microwave at 1:10 and was back in my office at about 1:15.  I shut the door behind me, got out my fork, took one bite, and there was a knock on my door.

My boss came in to discuss a low-exposure case that is hot right now because it's pretty much turning into a big and unexpected mess.  I'd been working on it some during the morning, and I'd left a couple messages with attorneys I needed to talk to.

Well, as we're discussing the case, one of the attorneys calls me back, so I take the call with my boss on speaker.  That takes about 20 more minutes.  And then my boss and I have to further discuss how I'm going to proceed.

The entire time, my lunch was sitting right in front of me, getting colder and colder as I got hungrier and hungrier.  At one point during the call with the attorney, I grabbed a piece of tofu sticking up from the bowl and ate it (it was the Amy's Teriyaki bowl), but I felt awkward doing that in front of my boss, so instead I just sat there starving until 2:05 when we were finally done. 

Agonizing I tell you, agonizing. 

My revenge:  blogs while I eat instead of more work. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Beer Mile Record and Travel Talk Tuesday

First, a fun video regarding a new Beer Mile record -- very impressive since I can't run a sub-5 (or probably a sub-6) even without beer.  Since I've recorded my initial beer mile victory and about defending my title here, and since I've loved this event since I first read about it on Amy's blog, I had to share this video.

(Warning, the video is almost 10 minutes long, don't worry, no vomit.)

And now, since it's Tuesday (though this will be short)...

Rules for TTT - please take a moment to answer this week’s questions on your own blog then add your link in the comments section for this post at Without a License so we can all see your answers! Please invite your readers to link back to their post on this post too so we can see everyone's answers and connect with other bloggers! (Remember to add the TTT graphic above and these rules to your post as well!) Today's Topic: College!!
1) Where did you go to college (or are you still in college) and when did you graduate?
2) What did you major in?
3) Did you participate in any studying abroad program?
4) Do you often go back to visit your college campus?
5) Is there something that your campus is known for?

Today's Topic: College!

1) Where did you go to college (or are you still in college) and when did you graduate?
I went to school in DC and graduated nearly 20 years ago, wow!

2) What did you major in? I majored in Law and Society, which was a mix of pre-law type stuff and sociology.  I didn't know before or during college that a law-related major is not necessary or even particularly helpful for law school, which was my eventual destination.  It was what interested me, but in reality, I wish I'd majored in history, which also interested me and would have gotten me into law school just as easily.

3) Did you participate in any studying abroad program?Yes, I spent the spring of my junior year studying in Rome, and then I spent some time afterward in Italy, and then backpacking around Europe -- I went to a total of 19 countries in those months!

4) Do you often go back to visit your college campus?Not really.  Probably about 4 times?  I don't even go back to campus every time I'm in DC.

5) Is there something that your campus is known for?
Not really.  Large building on campus was named after a Saudi arms dealer when I attended, but they planted some bushes in front of the sign so it was not quite so obvious (but then he defaulted on a payment after I left and it was renamed).  Decent international presence at the school, particularly wealthy and from the Middle East, crown princes, princesses, etc. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Easter edible craft

My weekend didn't really feel like much of a weekend.  It included 4.5 hours of yoga, and a half-marathon (slow, but still good enough for an AG award), errands, and work. 

Race morning wake-up weather -- not good racing temps:

And the course was hilly and many runners were misdirected (not me though, but those up front). What a mess. This was my second time doing this race, and I think I might be done with it. Last year, it was an awful course (zigzagging in a parking lot at one point), this time with the hills, the weather and the misdirection, I think it might be the end. I don't remember how much it cost ($75?) but water and bananas at the end (and some kind of milk protein sponsor out there handing out bottles at their tent), I was kind of surprised. I'd think at that price the police would have had the right route, there would have been better course markings, more at the finish, etc. The shirts were decent -- tech shirts but not even close to as great as last year's, which I continue to wear frequently (grey and soft and great with jeans or on a short run). 

Still hot at 9:07 p.m. -- yikes, summer is definitely coming to Dallas. 

Only a week or so late, but I wanted to share this anyway.

For Easter last year, we made cute little birds' nests with chow mein noodles, chocolate, chocolate eggs, and peeps.  We shared them during Easter visits to both of our godsons.  Since my godson thought the little nests were awesome, I wanted to try something similar this year.

The plan: 

And how they actually turned out:
(My first one wasn't as wide as the others)

In progress: 
A little row of six: 
Kind of fun.  I'm not a very creative or crafty person, so I think doing things like this outside my comfort zone is good for me once in a while. 
And I'm happy to report I didn't eat any of them!  I did eat plenty of graham crackers and frosting, but the edible grass was not good, and I wasn't in the mood for peeps or chocolate. 


Saturday, April 26, 2014

Yoga Career trumping Running Career

My running is so unremarkable lately (other than for it's slowness), I might as well keep going with my yoga challenge updates.  Especially since my husband is still off having fun in San Fran, staying with my brother and my sister-in-law. 

Thursday, 4-17-14, class no. 15, 6:30 p.m.  They were actually having "yoga in the park" tonight, which is outdoor yoga and only one set of each posture.  After much deliberation, I decided I would go and count it toward my challenge if my husband would go with me.  But he said he didn't expect to be done with work early enough to make it downtown for a 5:30 class, and that time would have been tough for me to attend as well, and it was my least favorite instructor, and technically, I would have kind of felt like it was cheating to count it toward my total, so in the end, I just went to a regular class -- fully heated and fully 90 minutes.  No cutting corners for me!  I had asked instructor Mandy the other day if she would count it toward her own challenge, and she'd said no -- though possibly in the heat of summer, she might.  Anyway, instructor Mandy.  Best class yet. Small, maybe 20 people?  Felt great the entire class but I had an awkward body issue right before triangle.  You step your feet apart, lower your arms, and then turn one foot out to to the side.  As I turned my foot, I noticed massive bingo wing jiggle in my arm.  It was both appalling and disgusting, but it kind of made me laugh. But when I looked up, Mandy seemed to be staring right at me, so I thought she'd seen it and been equally grossed out.  I talked to her after class and it turned out she was looking at someone's foot placement.  She told me to love myself and said all women have it (not true, but yes, some do). Very funny that within a week of this exchange, Michael posted about this article -- The Yoga of (My) Body Hatred

Thursday, class number 15 in 17 days was also notable as the first day of the "yoga funk" being noticeable in my car.  I got in the car to go to work, and I could just smell the funk.  Yuck.  I have no idea of the source, but I remember it from my last challenge as well.  Likely sources:  my mat, the bag in which I carry my yoga towel (and in which I carry my sweaty towel after class), my towel (I have three that I rotate and I always wash before reusing), my flip flops (these definitely got a funk last time), my shorts (I only have two pairs I really like wearing, and 2-3 other pairs I will sometimes wear), my sports bra (seems unlikely, always washed and I vary between a bunch of them), or of course, the worst possibility of the source of the funky smell -- me. 

Friday, 4-18-14, class no. 16, at noon.   This class was surprisingly large, about 30 people, presumably lots were off for Good Friday.  I was actually working, but it was a jam packed day -- boot camp in the morning, work from 6:40 until 11:45, yoga from 11:45 until 1:45, quick shower, work until 2:45, stations of the cross service at church from 3 until about 3:45, then actually a trip into the office to meet with my boss and work a bit more, then home to get dressed up and then head out for our fifth anniversary dinner.   It was the teacher with short dark hair again (maybe her name is Atina?). She told the Dirty Dancing story again to get us to lift higher in the lift-style position during the spine-strengthening series.   Overall, it was a good class for me.  There were 2 teachers in class, so that was kind of cool -- almost like having demonstrators to watch.

Saturday, 4-19-14, class no. 17, at 10:30. Rene again. Ugh. I took the class fairly easy since I knew I had more yoga in the cards later in the day.   I came out of Japanese ham sandwich early on the first set, that posture seems to be getting harder for me.  And given Easter, I'd actually already done a long run before yoga, and as before, having already worked out within a couple hours of the start of class meant slow onset of sweat in class.   This time there were 3 teachers in class with me, including one of the studio owners who is amazing at all the postures.

I am noticing that I'm breaking out a little on my face and chest -- I guess I'm not being thorough enough in the shower?  I definitely take a very quick shower at night after yoga, basically rinsing off before I go to bed, but I guess I'm going to have to be more careful.  Or it's just 3 random pimples as a little "happy anniversary" present to me -- I'm lucky that I've always had pretty clear skin, so I hope this goes away soon.   

Saturday, 4-19-14, class no. 18, at 4:00. A double!  My first double in more than a year.  Paul, the long haired dreads looking surfer type guy was the instructor.   This class was by far, the best class ever for me, but it was weird because I think it was the worst energy of any class I've ever taken.   The class was fairly small.  I did my best balancing series ever.   Locked legs, balanced, kicking. But throughout the class, there were people talking, tons leaving the room, and tons sitting out some postures.  It was a little funny because an older woman was a couple rows back from me wearing black shorts.  And when we were sitting with our legs apart toward the end of class, I saw there was a hole in the crotch of her shorts and so there was a big white circle showing -- glad she was wearing underwear.  Besides the balancing series, I was thrilled to see how close my forehead was to the floor.

Sunday, 4-20-14, Easter, class no. 19, at 9:30. Not as strong as last class, but I went for it more than usual.  I feel like my last class before this one raised the bar, and now I need to push for that level every time.  Today was a new to me instructor, Heather, who doesn't look how I imagine a yoga teacher usually looks, but really did a good job and is someone I see around the studio pretty often, she's often around.   Before class, I'd told her how weird the afternoon class had been yesterday, and she said she had the same experience with her class on Saturday -- tons of people walking out. And she said when that happens, class members blame the instructor on yelp. Haha. Well, Sunday was strong.  She made the comment about yelp in class and encouraged people to stay up.  She also was the source of the funniest moment in yoga this month.  I laughed like crazy during sevasana. She announced that during class, several eggs had been hidden in each locker room. Then she realized how bad it sounded -- so basically:  a sweaty Easter egg hunt in your skimpy clothes in the bathroom after class. Haha. I seriously couldn't stop laughing. I didn't find any eggs in the locker room after class, but I stayed on my mat to cool down for a while after class.

Monday, 4-21-14, class no. 20, at 6:30, the instructor with the short dark hair again (Atina?).  Unfortunately, because of a late phone call at work, I almost missed class.  I was actually running in flipflops (totally dangerous!) to my car, and then driving like a maniac, and then running into the studio.  I barely made it.  But again, a good class.  I was most thrilled to have my forehead grazing the floor.  I also noticed during the day that I am getting yoga callouses -- weird kind of dry patchy skin -- on the tops of my feet and on part of my knees.  Oh well, totally worth the progress that I feel like I'm making. 

Tuesday, 4-22-14, class no. 21, at 6:30 with Julie.  Two people came into class very late -- during awkward posture -- and stayed!  They were first-timers, but inside, I was kind of seething.  I have shown up at this studio before during half-moon pose and not been admitted because it was too late (yes, that was more than a year ago and maybe the policy has changed).  But now, I drive like a lunatic if necessary to get to class on time (most notably, just yesterday).  So it was very irritating to see that apparently that may be unnecessary.  Class overall was fine.  I felt less focused, looking around, not thinking about my breathing, not putting in as much effort. 

Wednesday, 4-23-14, class no. 22, at 6:00!  Woo-hoo for the earlier class!  Instructor was Renee again, and I feel like I've just resigned myself to the fact that since she's my least favorite instructor, I'll probably have her most often.  The most disturbing part of this class was a larger guy in the row behind me with a pink and purple mohawk who was panting and audibly swearing during the floor series until he finally left class early.  I heard him straining during wind-removing pose and I was wondering what in the world was happening.  Then I realized he'd decided to participate in about 70% of the postures but to sound like he was in an extreme weighlifting competition during each, complete with f-bombs under his breath, and then lay on his side the other 30% of the time -- how awkward for the person he must have been staring at on his side.  Overall, my class was fine.  I felt it was a bit of a set-back from my effort level over the past week's average level, but she just doesn't inspire me.  I shouldn't let that matter. 

Thursday, 4-24-14, at 6:30, class with Julie.  My favorite things about Julie are that when two sisters were talking during class, she politely threatened to separate them and reminded them of the no talking rule.  And after a water break in the standing series, she checked in with everyone and asked us to make sure we had everything we needed to finish the standing series because it's distracting and difficult to have people leave their mats during the standing series.  It worked -- we all stayed in.  I've only left the room once this month, and it was quick, during sevasana to refill my water bottle, and I didn't miss a single posture.  I've  been experimenting with what works best for water.  For a long time, I was using a 33 oz bottle of cold water and a solid frozen 24 oz G2 bottle with water in it.  Then as the ice melted, I'd add water to the G2 bottle and drink from it.  But it was a lot of screwing around with water pouring.  So I tried 2 G2 bottles frozen at different heights.  The first day of that was when I left the room -- I had 2 bottles with 2 chunks of ice and no water.  But I think I've got it down now -- one G2 frozen about 1/3 of the way, then topped with water, and one G2 frozen halfway and filled with water (the bottle for the second half of class).  Anyway, back to Thursday.  Average class for me.  The best part was standing head to knee -- I stayed on a locked leg almost the entire time both postures.  I tried to kick for a little on each side, but even when I couldn't sustain that, I didn't put my second foot back on the ground.  That's major progress for me.  I also got some guidance from Julie on my locked leg -- watching the "elites" for lack of a better term, some of them had a knee that almost looked arched backwards when their leg was locked and I was striving for that.  Julie told me it was wrong and would cause pain, I want ankle, knee, hip all in one line.  So I've been closer to correct all along!  I also saw progress in the last pose before tree (can't remember what it's called, I don't love it, sweat goes into my nose and then pours out when I stand up).  I am definitely one of the sweatiest people I think.  In the standing series, sweat is dripping in an almost-continuous stream from me.  When I lay down, my mat is soaked and when I pick it up at the end of class, all kinds of water pours off of it.  Yuck. 

Friday, 4-25-14, class no. 24, at noon.  Erika was the instructor.  This class was bizarre because it actually didn't feel that hot.  I swear, it had to actually be cooler.  My towel at the end of class is usually so soaked I can wring it out, but not this time.  I also drank markedly less water.  It's weird that just last night I was thinking about how I'm the sweatiest person in the class.  Only 16 of us in the class, about 4-5 of whom were male, and 2 women were named Danielle.  I thought that was funny.  On Monday, in talking to my boss about the Boston marathon, I said that the temperature had gone up 15 degrees in an hour before the elite men started, and at that rate, it would be over 100 before people finished.  And my boss replied, at that rate, we'll all be dead by tonight.  Anyway, at that rate, about 1 in 5 women must be named Danielle! 

Saturday, 4-26-14, class no. 25, at 9:30.  Instructor was the one with short dark hair (Atina?) again.  Class was okay but I was back to being super-sweaty and thirsty.  I left the room quickly to refill my water bottle during the spine-strengthening series.  There was a first-timer in front of me who could not get the grip right for standing bow-pulling, but overall, was so impressive for a first class, and for a guy!  This class was disturbing because the woman to my right (in the standing series) also had a hole in the crotch of her shorts that I couldn't not see as we went into standing separate leg stretching -- and she wasn't wearing anything under them.  Yuck!  I averted my gaze and actually shut my eyes some during the next set.  How does someone not notice that when they get dressed???!!! 

Friday, April 25, 2014

The Single Life

So I've been living the single life for the last few days and will be for a couple more.  My husband is out in San Fran staying with my brother.

Hungry Runner Girl, a blog I read fairly regularly, is getting divorced and she recently made a list about the positives of being single again. 

I absolutely love the idea of being happy with and seeing the positives in whatever your situation may be. 

So I thought I'd try to make a list of the great things about living the single life for almost a week for me.  Some of the things I thought would be good have turned out to be a wash or just wishful thinking.

Having time for going out with my friends (particularly gal time) would be great, but the yoga challenge is still dominating my weeknights, so my routine really hasn't changed at all -- it's just that now I get into an empty bed.  If he were gone and I wasn't doing all the yoga, I would have taken advantage of making social plans more.  If I can squeeze in yoga from 12-1:30 today, and then volunteer from 4-7 tonight, I have an invite to a woman from book club's house for wine and snacks -- ladies only, her husband and daughter have some outing planned.  So I might try to fit that into the day, but really, it will be my only social evening event the whole time he's gone. 

It's kind of fun to be messy, but it is also already irritating me.  I haven't been making my bed, which is funny, because I always made my bed when I was single.  Well, I shouldn't say always.  My mom would argue a lot about that!  But I started in college because I lived in the dorm and it was just weird to hang out with friends with an unmade bed.  But now that I'm alone for a few days (and busy), I haven't been making the bed, I've been leaving dishes in the sink, I've left the blender on the counter, etc.  I never do that stuff when my husband is home because (a) it drives him crazy, (b) when he is equally messy, it accumulates very fast and the house gets very cluttered, and (c) he generally cleans up after me, which makes me feel guilty.  If I leave dishes in the sink when he's home, either he assumes the dishwasher is full and stacks his too (and then it's double the work to clean up) or he loads my dishes and his own (like I said, then I feel guilty; we are both competent working adults so I pretty firmly believe that we should each clean up after ourselves, but if I want to wait until after work to load my coffee cup, sometimes it's too late and it's been done for me). I guess the guilt free mess is kind of nice, but like I said, having a mess kind of drives me crazy too. 

Granny panties are fine I guess, but they aren't worth the lack of sex, and they don't look right with fitted clothing anyway, so it's not like I really get to wear them even when he's out of town. 

Unlimited red onions on my salad should be a bonus to being alone, but in reality, he never seems to care even if I eat a ton of onions (as long as I brush my teeth and/or he eats them too). So I am not really eating more onions than usual.

Sole control of the remote would be great, but the yoga challenge means no evening TV (and I usually get the remote in the mornings anyway, since I'm usually alone and even when he's home, he doesn't care), and most of the shows I do watch are ones we watch together, so even on Saturday when sole control of the remote could be fun, I can't watch anything that we watch together. 

Not having to shave my legs would also be a single treat maybe if it weren't yoga challenge month. But stubbly legs during "Japanese ham sandwich" would drive me crazy and kind of gross me out.  And since my husband has never complained about stubbly legs (I credit his ex with setting the bar low on that, it's nice he doesn't care), in reality, leg shaving is happening at the same pace as last week, which means pretty much daily during yoga challenge, about double or triple the usual rate. 

Having the bed to myself isn't really a bonus because I pretty much sleep in the same place where I'd sleep otherwise. 

Basically, the bonuses to living alone for a little while for me pretty much come down to two things: uninterrupted sleep and absolute control of the thermostat.

The uninterrupted sleep is actually more accurately characterized as half-interrupted sleep.  Because obviously, if I have to pee, I still wake up.  Now it's just no waking up when someone else gets up!  Or when someone else tosses and turns.  Or when someone else snores or has a weird dream or gets a text or gets called to work. 

The uninterrupted sleep is even more lovely because of sole control of the thermostat.  We're lucky in that we're both similar in temperature preferences (we both would rather be warm than cold, and generally keep our house warmer than most people do), but having a preference difference of just five degrees is still somewhat significant.  My ideal sleeping temp is about 3 degrees warmer than our compromise (and his is about 2 degrees cooler).  So now I come home from yoga to a warm house, and then get into a warm bed, turn the ceiling fan on, and feel just like I'm on a tropical island in the sun with a lovely breeze. 

So there, making the most of my present situation! 

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Fatigue

I feel like my schedule right now is a complete beating.  I've been wearing a Jawbone Up since about Labor Day, and I have my "sleep" goal set at 7.5 hours per night. 

With my yoga challenge schedule that basically means every weekday is a 4:40 or 5:00 wake-up, then a workout, then a full day at work, then straight to yoga from 6:30 until 8:00, then home, dinner and to bed as quickly as possible, I'm feeling oppressively tired. 

Most nights, I'm getting about 45 minutes less sleep than usual (by usual, I mean non-yoga challenge months). 

It's catching up with me.  My eyes and face just look tired.  I feel like I would love a nap at any given moment (usually at work, it's all a-mile-a-minute, and I never stop to feel tired).  More espresso in the morning is not helping.  It's totally unprofessional, but I'm not washing my hair every day and I'm just sporting a ponytail at work sometimes.  But 15 minutes of hair washing-drying-styling is 15 more minutes at my desk or in my bed...

At least the end is in sight.  The last day of the challenge will be April 30.  May 1 is going to be a yoga-free day, with my after work hours filled with an alumni happy hour instead.  May 2 will be another yoga-free day, with my after work hours filled with a happy hour for a running buddy who moved away and will be back in town for a wedding.  And then I have a law school happy hour the following Tuesday.  Hmm... maybe my plan of deferring all events until after my yoga challenge is over means that I'm going to be sleep-deprived even after the challenge ends...

What am I doing to myself??  Haha, all good, and all my own choices, I know.  But my goal may be to get the social back-up cleared within a couple weeks and then have very limited social plans starting on about May 12. 

Then it will be sleep, glorious sleep for a week, then I think fall marathon training will begin.  Unfortunately, training for what is to-be-determined.  My rough idea was Milwaukee, but it filled up without me! 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Boston Play by Play

Wow, the Boston finish yesterday was intense!  I've kept thinking about it so many times in the last 24 hours. 

I was at work, but I totally blew off work until Meb finished, with the exception of a few things that were quick but urgent.

Thought it was amusing to look back at my text history with my friend Craig who wasn't at his computer and had asked me to keep him posted. 

Sorry for the profanity in the texts.  It really was intense, I'm a serious Meb fan!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Eeeeee, Boston unproductivity!

What a morning of Boston Marathon tracking. 

By about 1:15, my favorite male elite (American Meb Keflezieghi) separated from the guy he was near and was completely solo through 1:30.  By 1:45, he'd crested Heartbreak and I was starting to worry about my job because by then, my boss was in the office.  I had the door to my office shut, but tears in my eyes and probably some little squeels, every time they announced how far back the chase pack was from him.  Right around 1:57, he only had the lead by 20 seconds and 2d place was gaining -- 2d place who I hadn't predicted.  OMG!!!!  So intense!  2d and 3d were in sight, but in the end, Meb won it!  By about 10 seconds!!!! 

For the women, my number one pick was Rita Jeptoo (but of course an American would be great, so I was excited for Shalene before she got dropped from the pack of 8 in Newton).  Right around 2 hours, she broke from the pack of 5 and she dominated. 

So by 2 hours into the women's race, I'd called it.  And by 1:20 in the men's same thing.  If only I could channel some of my prediction abilities into harnessing some of that speed! 

But even when Rita and Meb were finished, I've got a couple more hours of tracking my friends. 
Going to be a fun day!  Amazing elite races. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Boston Elite Men

Yesterday, I posted my picks for the elite women running Boston, so I will also share my chocies for the Boston 2014 elite men's field.  It could easily be a list of one, but I added a few others for sport.

1.  Meb Keflezieghi, my running idol.  Man, it would be amazing if he won.  He has so much experience, marathons back to 2002!  He got the silver in the 04 Olympics and a 4th place finish in the 12 Olympics.  One of the most consistent runners in the world.  Had a tough race (that I posted about) in NY last year, but he's back and I want him to have an amazing race.  Same age as me (so yeah, the oldest in the entire Boston elite field), and a true running machine, but more than that, one of the most amazing, wonderful and inspirational runners on the world stage now or at any time in history.  Can you tell I'm a fan?  100% Team Meb!  (BTW, his brother Hawi's bday was a few days ago, so a win (or even just a triumphant strong finish) would be extra-nice.)  Running in honor of one of the victims (and his foundation gave $10,000 to that foundation). 

2.  Gebre Gebremariam, mostly because I love his name.  Oh yeah, and he has the second fastest qualifying time. 

3.  Dennis Kimetto has the Kenya thing going and the fastest qualifying time.  Trains with Mutai, running in Iten.  Lots and lots of marathon experience. 

4.  Micah Kogo, from Eldorado, Kenya (as with the women, the theme of my elite men picks is the connection to the Running with the Kenyans book). 

5.  Abdi Abdirahman, the Black Cactus.  Picking him because, as with the women, it just feels right to be cheering for a couple Americans (and I'm just not on the Ryan Hall bandwagon, but of course, if he has a great race, it would be just as awesome).  Like Ryan, Abdi dropped out in the Olympics, but from what I've read, he's had a solid training build-up. 

6. Vitaliy Shafar because I think Ukraine could use a victory right now.  He's got a lot of marathon experience, going back to 2006 and including the Rome marathon, which warms my heart.  He is engaged to one of the Boston 2014 female elites. 

This list was tough.  I also like Wilson Chebet (athletic family, solid running, trains in Eldoret), and Frankline Chepkwony (cool name, also trains with Kimetto and Mutai in Iten).  Lelisa Desisa could do it, but I think he's still too young -- but it's a name we'll keep seeing I bet, and he might pull it out this year (he was 3d in Boston in 2011 (his wife also ran and had the fastest combined H-W marathon time in the world), and this will be his 4th Boston, so lots of course experience, which will undoubtedly help).

So I'll be mostly rooting for Meb, but if it's not him winning it all, my allegiance goes to Kenya, and if not a Kenyan (or another American), then a strong performance by anyone will make me teary, excited, thrilled, inspired, etc. 

I've got my list of friends to track (and came up with a way to track 20 runners simultaneously, thanks to the beauty of the Citrix work environment!), and I'm very excited about marathon Monday.  So excited in fact, that I'm toying with the idea of trying to register for 2015 when it opens (and maybe trying for a faster qualifying time before then).  Very mixed feelings, and very tentative, but this week, it's definitely a thought. 

Friday, April 18, 2014

Boston Elite Women

I think all my time not running, doing yoga, sleeping or working lately is being put into thinking about Boston. 

Here are my picks for the elite women's field.  I don't think there will be a course record.  Right now, it's looking too warm (but fortunately not hot).

1. Rita Jeptoo (a lot of depth of experience, featured in a book I read last year about running with the Kenyans)

2. Desiree Davila (one of my American faves, I’ve run the same marathon as her twice (Boston in 2011 where she was 2d and I was 30,002d or so, and Berlin 2013, where she came in 5th, I was about 25,005th))

3. Sharon Cherop (as with Desi, we’ve run two races together, Boston and Berlin, she also beat me both times; trains in Iten, which I’ve read about)

4. Caroline Kilel (Kenyan with a lot of depth, marathons since 2003!, barely beat Desi in Boston 2011 (2 seconds)).

5. Shalane Flanagan (just because I should have another American to cheer for)

Why didn’t I pick Mare Dibaba? She might surprise me, but two marathons for an elite in 4 months seems tough. She has the fastest qualifying time of all the elite women, so obviously she has a good chance of winning. 
In general, I'm rooting for the Kenyans, but any amazing performance by anyone is reason to cheer and be excited.  I just love good running!  (It's a shame I don't seem to be doing any of it myself lately, just poking along, feeling unmotivated and slow (and just to be absolutely clear, even when I'm rocking it and feeling fast, I can't do a single mile at marathon pace for these women, which is about 5:20/mile; just to be even clearer, I can't run an 800 at their marathon pace either).) 
Man, I can't wait to watch it all unfold on Monday.  No secret who my number 1 choice is on the men's side, but I'll have to post about that later.   

Thursday, April 17, 2014

(No) Yoga Update

Last week, I broke my perfect April yoga attendance streak.  I skipped yoga in favor of preparing for our dinner party on Friday.  I'd gone for 10 straight days of classes, so the break was nice.

And even better -- we were fairly prepared when the first guests arrived!  All they had to do was fold napkins for us, open wine, get out one more platter from the china cabinet, and help us start the signature cocktail.  That was while we were hurriedly finishing up the final touches on the appetizers.  But by the time the third or fourth couple arrived, we were totally set! 

The menu:

Signature cocktail
The Frenchy (pear vodka, pineapple juice, cranberry juice)

Zucchini bites
Spinach-artichoke dip
Chips and salsa
Grilled garlic toasts topped with basil, tomato, olive oil, salt/pepper
Crostini topped with taleggio cheese, apple, and a special thyme honey drizzle

Build your own pizzas, with homemade crusts
Sweet potato fries

Wedding cake

The night was so much fun.  I love the people who were there to celebrate with us so much.  The night went very late and I drank way more than usual.  Given my Mardi Gras shenanigans this year, I have now been intoxicated twice in 2014!  I'm going for a post-30 record I think! 

But Saturday, no yoga.  I was way too hung over.  My total number of steps for the day was less than 1500, and that counted a lot of steps from before I went to bed but long after midnight for the end of our party, saying goodbye, cleaning up the kitchen, going to bed.  I barely moved from the couch all day.

This now means that to complete 30 classes in 30 days, I need to do TWO double class days.  Yikes.  The only options really are weekends, and one of those four weekend days is Easter, which means limited class schedule and I have plans with my godson's family, so there's no chance for a double that day.   

Sunday, 4-13-14, class no. 11, at noon (having run about 8 miles in the morning).  Class was with Julie again and I warned her I was going to be sweating alcohol.  The class was actually pretty good.  I used my new yoga towel (equa hot yoga towel, in "magic" (which is their way of saying purple)).  The room felt excessively hot and humid, and maybe because I was dying, she stood with the doors open for a couple minutes during the standing series.  She called me out by name to commend me on my eagle posture (1st half of second set) -- which was funny because I couldn't find my balance to save my life in the 2nd half of second set.  I'm sure she assumed she'd jinxed me if she noticed. Class overall was good, especially since I still felt pretty crappy.

I was a rockstar on Sunday in general -- group run, 90 minute yoga class, grocery store briefly, two loads of laundry done, finished 2 pages of our wedding scrapbook (trying to be done by Friday, our 5th anniversary!!!), made a lovely dinner (eggplant parm) for my husband, made a quiche for my weeknight post-yoga meals, and was dressed and ready for church at 6:00 so we could go right after we finished dinner.  I was pretty impressed with myself. 

The scrapbook was one of my resolutions.  I have five two-page spreads left to do I think.  Ugh.  And no time to do them!  Working, running and yoga leave zero free time before Friday night. 

Monday, 4-14-14, class no. 12, at 6:30.  Julie again!  Twice in two days.  Good class.  Seemed extra warm and humid, probably because it was cold outside.  She actually held open the doors to the room for the entire second set of triangle.  She gave me a correction that I attempted to follow on balancing stick.  I asked her after class about how to improve my tree stand -- I can get my foot up, but dear god, my shoulders aren't even close to level.  She suggested raising my leg in front of me (like in standing head to knee) before bending to pick it up.  Seemed to work when I tried it the next day.  I noticed in seated head to knee that I've basically got it down on the separate leg stretches.  I can lock my knee and get my head on my knee and pull down.  Of course, I'm not even close to being able to do that while standing (heck, I still can't really lock my standing leg, so I'm not even trying to kick a leg out). 

Tuesday, 4-15-14, class no. 13, at 6:30.  I was very worried it would be Rene again since I thought I heard Julie say that on Monday to someone after class, but it wasn't -- the instructor was Mandy, who I think I had for my second class?  Young with very long pretty curly hair.  I liked the class a lot.  One, it didn't seem as warm.  Two, it seemed like she did fewer opening and closing breathing exercises.  Three, it seemed like she counted fast when she counted and in general didn't make us hold things as long.  I am starting to get close to getting my forehead on the floor, which is so exciting for me. 

Wednesday, 4-16-14, class no. 14, at 6:30.  Yeah, Rene again.  I wish I could record her voice so everyone could hear how irritating and patronizing it is.  It was funny because she tried to make us hold something way too long and pretty much everyone gave up.  I again noted remarkable progress in the distance between my forehead and the floor. 

Least favorite postures (in order starting with most hated):

1. Triangle -- my leg's not low enough, my spine's not straight, there's pressure on my fingers against my toes and my elbow against my knee, I just totally suck at this one and it feels like it goes on forever.
2. Lotus -- it hurts so much to have my arms under me like that, and I can barely lift my legs at all.
3.  Rabbit -- I'm not sure I do this right.  I never feel a stretch in my lower spine, just around my shoulders.  I hate feeling like too much blood is rushing to my head. 

I would put wind-removing pose on this list as well if it were a list about postures I think I'm doing wrong as I feel little apparent benefit or stretch, but the list is the ones I hate, and I don't hate wind-removing at all.  It's just suspiciously easy for me.  Maybe that will be my next list -- suspiciously easy.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Boston and TTT: Asia

Not much to report. Work, yoga, running (slowly still, not sure what's up with me the last six months).  Our fifth anniversary is Friday and the traditional gift for year five is wood.  I came up with an awesome plan -- wooden frames to do the other side of a stairwell.  But I found out yesterday that they're the wrong size.  So I went to a craft store and bought 30 there.  Also the wrong size (well, technically, still 4x6, but they're not the same size as all the others already hanging).  So I just ordered 30 more from Amazon, but since the fastest shipping available is 2-4 business days (as opposed to 4-10), they won't be here in time for our anniversary.  So I have to come up with a creative way to package the photos I've already printed to put in the frames.

Thinking a lot about Boston this week.  Here's what I had posted last year, spending the entire day tracking friends running the race (my tradition if I'm not running), and then the chaos that followed:

I was surprised by a cold front here on Tuesday morning, so I proudly wore my Boston jacket on my run to commemorate the one year anniversary. 

Given my line of work, it shouldn't be particularly surprising that I did some research about whether the victims who died or those injured who survived the Boston bombing have brought any lawsuits.  There was a suit by one survivor against Glenn Beck for defamation (and I believe another defamation suit in NY), and a suit by the ACLU about release of documents related to the bombing, but I was more curious about suits against the BAA, the city, the police/security companies involved with the race, the tortfeasors (the brothers), or governmental agencies. 

While the One Fund proceeds (about $60 million) were distributed (a second, smaller distribution is or was set to follow), obviously the costs were high -- the few who died as I recall were all fairly young, and therefore any one of them alone would likely have had a high value claim for loss of future earnings (though of course for the child, it's much harder to predict).  And of course those seriously injured incurred substantial medical bills (though I think Massachusetts was a state with mandatory health insurance before, so perhaps individuals aren't bearing the brunt as much as someplace like here in Texas where medically uninsured numbers are high), not to mention general damage claims for loss of enjoyment of life, etc. 

The One Fund distribution was broken out by severity.  Families of the deceased and double amputees received $2.2 million each, and the 14 single-limb amputees each received approximately $1.2 million.  Of the others injured, the distribution was based on the number of nights spent in the hospital. A single night was worth $125,000; 32 nights or more qualified victims for $948,000 (not usre how the math worked for someone in the hospital for 10 days for example). The 143 people who were treated as outpatients received $8,000 each.  That kind of system makes sense to get funds out fairly rapidly, without getting too bogged down in particular claims' values (and then receipients can structure it if they want).  But of course there have been some appeals there about people who didn't go to the hospital but the alleged severity of their injuries later became apparent, but as far as I can tell, no direct suits claiming someone was responsible for the bombing.  There was also some lesser distribution from a state victims' fund I've read.  The payments by the One Fund and state funds are tax-free but they do impact recipients' entitlement to other governmental benefits (so if someone was on the state's insurance for the poor, they'd no longer be eligible for that). 

The brothers were apparently judgment proof, so no money to be gotten there.  Given the immunity likely for the state/federal agencies/entities, likely no money there either.  An interesting article, here, indicates that as a non-profit, the BAA's liability is capped (though it doesn't say at how much).  But of course I'd guess they're insured and the policy very well could cover acts of terrorism.  But with over a hundred injured and three dead, policy limits would be expected to go fast, even if they're large, but the insurance won't kick in until claims are over $100 million

Interestingly, if a victim accepts funds from The One Fund, it does not bar subsequent suits (not the case with some central settlement relief funds, such as 9-11), so I guess we'll just have to wait and see.  Suits strike me as unlikely, but at the same time, many people losing someone or who are injured look somewhere, anywhere, for compensation.  My quick Google research indicates no suits thus far. 

Okay, enough about work!

And a bit late, but why not, talking about travel.

Rules for TTT - please take a moment to answer this week’s questions on your own blog then add your link in the comments section for this post at Without a License so we can all see your answers! Please invite your readers to link back to their post on this post too so we can see everyone's answers and connect with other bloggers! (Remember to add the TTT graphic above and these rules to your post as well!) TTT Topic: Worst Travel Experience
1) What country do you want to visit the most in Asia?
2) Is there a country you'd rather not visit in Asia?
3) Have you ever been to Asia? if so, which countries?
4) Is there any Asian influence where you are currently living?
5) If you could be fluent in Chinese/Japanese/Korean/Hindi, which one would you choose?

Today's Topic: Asia!

1) What country do you want to visit the most in Asia?
My answer is definitely India -- and hopefully a month from now, I will have purchased plane tickets to go there this year!  I'm so excited to see the Taj Mahal, but beyond that, I'm excited about the culture, the food, the chaos, the sights, the different-ness of it all.  I'd also really like to go to Nepal and Bhutan. 

2) Is there a country you'd rather not visit in Asia? Not really.  If I had to put one at the bottom of the list, it would probably be Mongolia, mostly because of the food -- very meat-heavy, which would be tough for me.  And I'm not particularly intrigued by the scenery, but of course, if I had an opportunity to go to Mongolia, I'd seize it -- it's just not somewhere that is likely to be a priority for us anytime soon. 

3) Have you ever been to Asia? If so, which countries? Yes, but not since 2012.  I've been to Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Hong Kong, and of course China (I recapped the trip all over this blog).  Each country was amazing and wonderful in its own way. 

4) Is there any Asian influence where you are currently living? There is a large Asian community in the suburb north of Dallas, but not particularly significant in Dallas (probably similar to most other cities in the US, excluding places like NY and SF).  There are tons of Asian restaurants -- from our house, within 3 blocks you have Indian, Japanese, Korean, and Chinese (if you could Pei Wei, which I will admit is a stretch).  One of our neighbors is from Taiwan, so one of her relatives helped me a lot when I was studying Chinese before our trip.  There's also a Chinese Catholic church where I'm hoping to start taking formal Chinese lessons in May. 

5) If you could be fluent in Chinese/Japanese/Korean/Hindi, which one would you choose? Chinese for sure!  Not only would I love to go back to China to explore different parts of the country, I also think China's influence will continue to grow in the world (as it should, given the size of the population there).  But if the fluency is short-term, just for the next 8 months, then I'd pick Hindi since that would undoubtedly help a lot for our vacation this fall. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Yoga and more yoga

Oops -- somehow didn't publish this Thurs night as I intended!

Have I mentioned there's not much to report other than yoga? 

We are having a "fire code capacity" dinner party on Friday night.  It's the same party we have every year in April.  We invite all the people in Dallas who went to Italy for our wedding, and we recreate our rehearsal dinner -- pizza and fries.  We make individual pizza crusts and let friends top their own, then we cook them on the grill.  I try to make sweet potato fries and they're usually not great... 

We also get a small wedding cake from the place that made a cake for our Dallas wedding reception, and I usually try to make a signature cocktail and some awesome appetizers.  It always ends up being a thoroughly fun evening. 

Friday I might even skip yoga to be able to get done with work early and be ready for the party.  That means I'm going to have to do a double to make up for it -- maybe on Sunday?  I'm already kind of dreading it, but I know if I do the double and finish my 30-day challenge, I'll be extra proud of myself.

So here's a few more days of yoga recaps:

Monday, 4-7-14, 6:30 class.  Don't know the instructor's name, short, dark hair, very nice.  My absolute favorite part of class was in between first and second sets of full locust.  She compared it to Baby's lift scene during Dirty Dancing.  I totally love that movie and loved picturing myself doing the lift.  As much as I hate ever being picked up by anyone (I think I'm much heavier than I appear, and my whole life I've worried someone would pull his/her back while trying and learning of my density), but I've told my husband a million times that I wish we could learn the final Dirty Dancing dance.  And occasionally, I will charge at him in the house and tell him to do the lift, but usually I pull back, sometimes I crash into him and we'll both hit the wall or couch or whatever, but he never actually attempts the lift.  But in yoga, with a floor supporting me that definitely won't break under my weight, I feel just like Baby.  I couldn't stop smiling during the second set.  I also felt like my forehead went closer to the floor, and in the second to last posture, I did better at locking my knees. 

Tuesday, 4-8-14, 4:00 class (weird day, had to work after class), instructor was Erika.  I was extremely sore for some reason.  Very tight hips.  Possibly from a fairly tough 6 miles about 10 hours earlier?  Or too many lunges at boot camp on Monday?  Or worked too hard at yoga Monday night?  Either way, in "wind-removing" pose, I couldn't believe how tight my hips were.  In general I didn't work as hard in class.  I didn't sit anything out, but I wasn't pulling or stretching with as much effort as I usually do. 

Wednesday, 4-9-14, 6:00 class.  Instructor was Rene, and she was my least favorite ever.  Young, uses a very singsong voice, seems kind of fake smiley and energetic, seriously grated on my nerves.  She uses a voice that you don't really hear anyone over 30 using, just sounding very immature in general.  And I was next to a loud mouth breather.  And it was one of the most crowded classes I've attended this year, with all 5 rows being fairly full, but enough space between the mats that we were really packed in.  The combination of all of these made for a miserable class.  I kind of figured it was just me, but either way, if I never have another class with her as the instructor, that would be just fine.  At least the class went by fairly quickly.  It seems they really all do lately, which is not how I remember it before. 

Thursday, 4-10-14, 5:30 a.m. class (10k race after work).  Rene again.  What are the odds??!!  And no, it wasn't just a chip on my shoulder on Wednesday.  She is 100% not my favorite.  In fact, she's 100% the only instructor so far I just don't like.  She uses a voice that makes it sound like she's talking to a bunch of three year olds using fake enthusiasm to get them excited about nap time.  She also does a lot of gesturing and stuff, acting like she's a performer in a big show, which strikes me as pointless and distracting unless she's actually demonstrating the postures.  The 5:30 a.m. class only had about 20 people, so she gave people tips on postures but she rarely identified who she was directly her advice at.  Instead I guess she wants you to look at her to figure it out?  At one point in the second part of the first half of triangle, I somehow realized she was talking at me.  I did as instructed and she commended me, but in reality, she was just commending me for doing what she said to correct.  I know my triangle always sucks somewhat, and was particularly sucky in this class as it was less than 12 hours after my last one and I didn't want to push hard with the race in 12 more hours, but it was nice of her to try to help me.  I hope this was my last class with her though. 

I have decided, if I'm still going to yoga in 51 weeks, on April Fool's Day 2015, I want to bring a few whoopie cushions and deploy them during wind-removing pose.  How funny would that be? 

Thursday, April 10, 2014


This is maybe only the second or third time I've shared a large amount of text from another source, but it is so worth it.

I came across this from Hungry Runner Girl's blog, and here's the original link she shares:

Google translate for runners.  My absolute favorite was the hamstrings one.  Followed closely by the Thursday one.

Here are my favorites (well, it's pretty much all of them, but I narrowed it down to the best 60% or so for your benefit):

“My training hasn’t been great.”
Translation: “Training has been my life for the past eighteen weeks.”

“I’m just hoping to finish.”Translation: “I will PR or die.”

“I hit the wall hard. I don’t think I fueled properly.”Translation: “I went out too fast.”

“I don’t know what happened.”Translation: “I went out too fast.”

“I was on pace for the first twenty miles, but then I hit the wall. Training wasn’t great. I’ve been battling an injury. And I just got over being sick. Guess it all caught up to me.”Translation: “I went out too fast.”

“I’m just running this race for fun.”Translation: “My eternal happiness hinges on the outcome of this race.”

“Yeah, I did twenty this morning.”Translation: “Can you believe I just ran twenty freakin’ miles? I’m amazing.”

“I’m starving!”Translation: “I’m hungry because I just ran twenty freakin’ miles. I’m amazing.”

“My hamstrings got a little tight.”Translation: “I’ve lost the ability to bend at the waist.”

“My Achilles has been acting up lately.”Translation: “About ten weeks ago, I blew out my Achilles, but I’m still running on it.”

“I took some time off to let it heal.”Translation: “I didn’t run last Thursday.”

“Yeah, I’ll get it looked at after the race.”Translation: “I will wait for it to go away on its own.”

“Yeah, I should probably see a doctor.”Translation: “I will not see a doctor.”

“I get irritable if I don’t run.”Translation: “If I don’t run, I may or may not become homicidal.”

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Worst Travel Experiences

Tuesday, Tuesday.  Got in 6 miles this morning at 5:15 and with such a short run, I managed to get to work early, early today and am hoping to maybe make it to the 6:00 yoga class tonight.  Only 7 days of the 30 day challenge complete, and my husband is already complaining about not seeing me awake at all.  I feel like this reminds me a little of what it was like when a blogger I read and her husband were both doing Ironman training. 

Since it's Tuesday, I'm going to do the travel prompts again.

Rules for TTT - please take a moment to answer this week’s questions on your own blog then add your link in the comments section for this post at Without a License so we can all see your answers! Please invite your readers to link back to their post on this post too so we can see everyone's answers and connect with other bloggers! (Remember to add the TTT graphic above and these rules to your post as well!) TTT Topic: Worst Travel Experience
1) What do you hate the most about traveling?
2) Is there any situation you try to avoid when traveling?
3) How do you avoid that situation?
4) Cruise/Flights/Bikes/Cars/Bus - which is your least favorite way of traveling?
5) What is your worst experience while traveling?

Today's Topic: Worst Experiences!

1) What do you hate the most about traveling?
I hate feeling like I overpaid or got scammed.  Note that I don't hate overpaying or getting scammed, I just hate it if I become aware of it.  One problem with traveling to places with tourists is that there are usually plenty of scammers.  When you add a language component, it gets worse. 

2) Is there any situation you try to avoid when traveling?I try to avoid huge waits.  It's sometimes unavoidable but it drives me up the wall.  I feel like travel time is so precious to me (that whole "limited vacation days" thing), that when I end up in line for hours to wait for the tram to take us down from Hua Shan mountain in China for example, or to get into the Uffizi in Florence, I feel like I'm missing out on things I'd prefer. 

3) How do you avoid that situation?
We try to make reservations for places where we can (like the Uffizi), but for other things, we just try to evaluate whether it's worth it and whether it's necessary (i.e., if we could pay more to avoid the line).  Sometimes there's just no way around it.  At Hua Shan, it had started raining, so masses of people were trying to leave at the same time, and we were ready to go as well, so we didn't want to try to wait out the line.  So when we're stuck waiting, we try to make the best of it, talking to each other, observing those around us, sometimes writing out postcards. 

4) Cruise/Flights/Bikes/Cars/Bus - which is your least favorite way of traveling?Can I say cruises if I've never been on one aside from a few days down the Yangtze in China?  I just have no desire to be on a boat going to different ports with a ton of other tourists, eating my meals on a ship and being on a schedule for when to do things. 

5) What is your worst experience while traveling?Hmm, food poisoning, crime, or lost passport in a city with a consulate closed for three days and a scheduled flight in one day?  Probably food poisoning, which has happened twice -- once in China, once in Kenya.  In Kenya, I was alone and almost delirious with fever, the part of me that was rational was very scared.  And in China, I knew what it was and that it would pass, but it was still miserable for a couple days.  I was also a crime victim in Napoli, Italia once, and that was pretty miserable, I felt very vulnerable and exposed and sad afterward, even when I had changed clothes.  The lost passport thing happened in Poland and probably took about two years off the end of my life (but in the end, it wasn't lost, it was with my brother's roommate, long story).

Monday, April 7, 2014

Yoga taking over life

More yoga...

It's pretty much all I've got to report right now.  A typical day this week will look like this:

4:35 (Tues/Thurs), 5:00 (M/W/F) wake up
5:00 (Tues/Thurs), 5:15 (M/W/F) leave house
5:15 (Tues/Thurs), 5:30 (M/W/F) start running with friends or boot camp
6:45 back home
7:45 leave for work
8-6 work, work, work, don't talk to anyone, don't leave desk for lunch (I can't complain about this when it's tax time and I know people in that biz have it much worse)
6:00 change into yoga clothes
6:10 drive to yoga
6:20 arrive at yoga
6:30-8:00 Bikram class
8:15 back home
8:25 dinner ready
8:35 done eating
8:40 kitchen cleaned
8:45 clothes laid out for morning
9:00 bed

REPEAT until end of April pretty much...

Yow, it's tough.  I feel like I have no "me" time, but in reality, isn't all my life "me" time?  I choose to run and go to boot camp, I generally like my job (or at least I did until our new parent company made some big changes a few months ago, but I still love the actual work I do), and certainly no one is making me do yoga!  But doing this 30 day challenge essentially means I'm not doing anything else. 

I can write down a few blog thoughts during dinner, but I'm pretty much off the grid I guess for this month. 

Anyway, here's how my 30 day challenge is unfolding, six classes complete so far, next one on the books in about 5 hours. 

Fri, 4-4-14, made it to the 4:00 class, which was awesome because it meant we had a real Friday night!  Instructor was the surfer looking guy with shaggy blond hair again and I had a GREAT class for a while.  And then I concluded that my body is lopsided.  Specifically, I think my right eye and eyebrow are higher than my left.  And I have a more pronounced love handle on my left side.  In between noticing all of that, I took an extra water break just before starting the spine series.  And since I'd gone to class from home instead of straight from work, I'd brought a bottle of G2 with me.  And I gulped it.  Way too much sugar.  I ended up sitting out one set of one spine exercise, and generally quietly belching and feeling like I might puke for some time.  Very close to leaving the room.  A.) That's why they give you water breaks at designated times and you're not supposed to do it at other times.  B.) That's why they say "have a SIP of water" and don't tell you to chug it.  C.)  That's why they say WATER, not Gatorade or some other sickly sweet drink.  Oops.

Sat, 4-5-14, went to the noon class after going for a walk with a friend in the morning.  An instructor I had before, Julie.  I recognized her and said hello on the way in, so she looked up my name.  In the past, she'd kind of irritated me.  She seems kind of clique-ish, hugging students, calling people by name, etc.  And she also seems to screw up the dialogue at least once every other class.  But from the second class started, I felt good and was enjoying her energy.  And then we got to the first part of the first series of Awkward pose and she called ME out by name as doing a good job!!!  And I was!  I was sitting way down in the chair, leaning way back, trying to fall down backwards.  I was grinning for far too long after that!  Class felt like it went by very quickly.  Part of that was because it did -- she forgot to do one part of standing head to knee -- she was talking to a student about what do to differently, and she totally skipped over the first leg of the second set.  But who am I to complain about a skipped exercise?  I just enjoyed the little class cheat, and no one pointed it out.  Oh, and she totally screwed up her dialogue during "wind-removing" pose, reading one leg when we were doing both, and realizing it and just telling us to pull, pull, pull.  But she's definitely in my "preferred" column now, either way. 

Sun, 4-6-14, wen to the 10:30 class after having done my first run back since my calf injury last week Thursday.  I'd run a very slow 7 miles and been glad I didn't go further as it started pouring when I finished.  I felt so bad for my buddies running Boston -- they had 15, but some of it was race pace, so at least they were moving kind of fast.  But it was still sucky conditions for all of them.  Anyway, yoga was one of my old favorite instructors, Andrew.  I think I was in one of his very first classes as an instructor.  He also called me out by name to give me guidance on how to improve, also much appreciated.  Class was great.  Felt like I was making progress in several postures. 

Order of preference of postures (NOT according to ability):
Fixed firm (managed to get my hips on the floor for the first set Sunday, and even stuck it out for half of the second set)
Standing separate leg stretching (goal is forehead on the floor, I'm not even close, but progress)
Toe stand (I've gotten up a couple times, but usually, I can't even bring my hands to the sides and balance)

Friday, April 4, 2014

Back to Bikram

I've been thinking about going back to regular yoga for some time, but I just couldn't get myself to do it.  As I mentioned, there was a lot of turmoil at work in mid-January (including a RIF of non-attorneys), and that made things stressful so I needed yoga more, but I was also spending a lot more time at the office so I had less time to do yoga (unless of course I wanted to give up time spent running, at boot camp, eating or sleeping). 

But feeling that sharp pain in my calf one week and one day ago while I was at the track was the push I needed. 

I went back to Bikram on Friday night, even though we had out of town guests.  They went to happy hour then hung out at the house with hubby, and we went for a late, casual dinner after yoga (very casual, I didn't even have time to wash my sweat-soaked hair, yuck). 

Friday's class was at the studio closest to my house (less than a mile and a half away), taught by a guy with long shaggy blond hair.  My overwhelming impression was that I'd lost most of the progress I'd made through regular practice before.  It was primarily apparent in standing separate leg stretching, when I realized my forehead was at least a foot away from the floor.  But at least I knew what I was doing and how to try the postures properly.  Overall, it felt good and went fairly quickly. 

I was a bit sore on Saturday, but mostly hurting in my calf from the running injury. 

Sunday was more touring the city with our guests, still a sore calf. 

Monday I was generally feeling better, and decided I'd start a 30 day challenge on Tuesday.

Tuesday, since I couldn't run due to my sore gastroc, I went to a class at the further studio (about 2.5 miles from my house, but closer to my office) at 5:30 in the morning.  The instructor was a woman with big hair who did not have a typical yoga body.  As I hoped, after the first set of the very first breathing exercise, she declared that it was just too frigging hot and she walked out of class.  I was grinning the entire time, but a few people apparently forgot that it was April Fool's for about 10 seconds until she came back in.

Wednesday, I was a bit yoga sore, but I'd had an early day at work with a very important conference call in the morning, so I decided to leave early and go to the 6:00 class at the studio by my house.  The instructor had long curly hair and kept going hoarse and coughing the first 2/3 of the standing series.  One student went out to the desk and got her a mint.  At the first water break, she drank a bunch, and it got better, but by the time we got to triangle, we could barely hear her and it felt like she cut the posture short (don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining!!!!).  I was very non-yogi and kept wondering why TF she didn't just try the mint.  Finally she opened the mint and that was the end of the coughing and losing her voice.  I felt like I saw the most progress (a whopping 3 classes' worth) in standing bow pulling pose, but of course, only when my left leg was on the group -- the calf injury is getting better for sure, but the leg is definitely weaker. 

Thursday morning, I went to the 5:30 a.m. class at the studio by work again (still no running).  Definitely the toughest class so far.  Not sure if it's because my last class ended 10 hours earlier, or if I was tighter than usual or what.  But yikes, it was a struggle.  I basically considered sitting out at least one set of every single posture, but I never did. 

My favorite posture has always been fixed firm.  Not sure if my calves are that much fatter or if muscles are just tighter, but I can't seem to get my hips on the ground when I'm sitting, so I really shouldn't even start fixed firm.  The main tightness/pain seems to be in my left ankle, which is weird.  But I think I'm seeing some progress there too. 

Today, I think I'm going to enjoy a 24 hour break from yoga.  Since I'm working from home, I might attempt to go to a late morning or lunchtime class (I have a CLE from 12-1 that is a webcast though).  Ahh. 

Part of me wishes I could just fast forward to the end of the month and see where I end up.  Do I finally drop those stubborn Oktoberfest and Italy pounds?  Do I ever get my forehead on the floor again?  Do I become a zen-master?  Do my new flip flops get the Bikram funk odor?  Do I break down and buy a special yoga towel?  Do I figure out a way to get big ice cubes in my bottle when I go to class straight from work?  Do I get back into my old routine of going to the nearby grocery store right after class to buy Gatorade?

So many questions, and only time will tell! 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

TTT: Your World View and Traveling

Life is ticking along. 

Very, very, very busy weekend with our out of town guests.  4 museums in depth, 7 restaurants, 2 parks, 1 trip to the stockyards, several bottles of wine and lots of other drinks, not enough sleep, and tons of walking.  But so much fun.  Hubby's best friend is a very interesting guy and they really love spending time together.  And his wife's perspective is so interesting (she's from Ukraine, and her family is still there), and I could spend hours talking to her.  The 4 days ended far too quickly. 

BTW, my calf still hurts but I think it's getting better.  I finally got it checked out and it's my lateral gastroc, as I suspected, and the RX was just rest and ice, as usual.  Ugh.  Glad I'm not running Boston in a few weeks. 

I finally returned to Bikram yoga Fri afternoon after something like a year (?? really??) off.  My past experience with Bikram was that it was a good way to resolve running-related injuries or soreness.  So I figured it might magically heal my gastrocnemius.  Sad how little it seems I can do compared to at the end of my last 30 day challenge.

So after that initial class on Friday, I decided to take a few days off yoga, and this morning I started a new 30 day challenge.  I figured as long as I'm not running this week, there's no work travel coming up this month (I hope, one trip to Philly on the books that I'm hoping will get cancelled), hubs is going to be out of town for about a week of the month, and I desperately want to drop some LBs, there would not be any better time to start. 

First class of the challenge already felt better than the class on Friday.  Hoping one month will make a big difference, but even after one day, I'm sitting up straighter I feel and pounding the water so far.

For years I think, I followed a post topic from a blog on Mondays, but that is on a hiatus for two months (hosted elsewhere, but I haven't had a chance to check it out).  So this is an ideal time for another blog I read to start a weekly post topic! 

And this one is about travel, which is perhaps my number one passion. 

Rules for TTT - please take a moment to answer this week’s questions on your own blog then add your link in the comments section for this post at Without a License so we can all see your answers! Please invite your readers to link back to their post on this post too so we can see everyone's answers and connect with other bloggers! (Remember to add the TTT graphic above and these rules to your post as well!)
TTT Topic: Your World View And Traveling
1) How has travel changed the way you look at things?
2) What type of new experiences do you look forward to when you travel?
3) Do you usually go out of your comfort zone when traveling or stick to what's comfortable and familiar? 
4) What part of the world intrigues you the most and why?
5) Is there a stereotype or common belief about your own culture/country others have that you don't agree with?

TTT Topic: Your World View And Traveling
1) How has travel changed the way you look at things?

This is a tough question -- how hasn't it?  I think primarily I notice how unwelcoming our country is to people who don't speak English and how many people seem to have little knowledge of (or interest in) the world around them.  I think I've written about this before, but one year on Where in the World is Matt Lauer on the Today Show, a viewer had the option of a free trip to any of Matt's destinations that year.  The choices were Namibia, Madrid, Kuala Lumpur, and a mountain in the Swiss Alps.  The viewer said he was going to pick the Alps (or maybe Madrid), but then Matt's final destination was revealed to be Barbados, and that's what he chose.  Somewhere nearby, not expensive to get to, not mind-blowingly different, and I just couldn't grasp how he could make that choice.  It was so the opposite of what I would have done, picking Namibia probably because it would be the most expensive (and since I've already been to KL).  But at the same time, travel has made me look at the similarities of people everywhere.  Appreciating the differences (the people rhythmically hitting themselves in the morning in China), and appreciating the similarities (how there's still a big line at a popular breakfast place before people hurry into the subway, away to the daily grind). 

2) What type of new experiences do you look forward to when you travel?

I am usually most excited about my "number one sight" (and taking our annual Christmas card picture there), followed by food.  But when I'm there, I always find that I also love the people we meet and the unexpected adventures we have. 

3) Do you usually go out of your comfort zone when traveling or stick to what's comfortable and familiar? 

It's a mix for me, but I tend to be outside my comfort zone.  My husband and I both hate any kind of organized group tour, even where it would be so much easier (like in China).  We love being a team and figuring things out together.  But I love my routine of running in the morning and when we're in a city for several days, I find I sometimes find a route that I like on the first day and run it repeatedly.  We also sometimes hit up the same restaurant or cafe multiple times.  When we were in Breckenridge in 2008, we found this pizza place called Eric's Downstairs, that was right by a crepe stand.  We ate at both of those at least three times in four days.  In Malta, we went to the same cafe for coffee every day.  When we were in New Mexico last week, we had a total of three dinners and three lunches -- two dinners were at this little restaurant called Luna Rossa associated with a vineyard that wasn't far from our hotel. 

4) What part of the world intrigues you the most and why?

Most intriguing would probably be Asia.  It strikes me as the most different from everything I'm used to.  Asia is so large and diverse, and just so different it's hard to explain.  So far, I've only been a few places in Asia -- China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand -- but this year hopefully we'll be adding India and maybe Nepal to the list. 

5) Is there a stereotype or common belief about your own culture/country others have that you don't agree with? 

Hmm, my gut reaction is to say not really.  The stereotype of Americans is loud, large, culturally insensitive, and mono-lingual.  And unfortunately, those are the ones that seem to stand out most.  I still shudder with a particular memory from Florence, Italy in 2007.  We were sitting outside at a restaurant.  Florence is a city full of tourists to be sure.  Particularly Americans, but really, plenty from everywhere.  But this restaurant was as off the beaten path as you can easily be in Florence.  Because we'd already been in Italy for a couple weeks and had spent much of that time with my husband's family, we were already deep in our Italian-speaking groove.  So at the restaurant, we were conversing in Italian.  There was a woman nearby -- not large, but loud and mono-lingual.  We'd seen her do things Italians wouldn't do (not ordering a complete meal, having a capuccino afterward, etc.).  But it wasn't anything particularly notable.  But then her check had come and she was shouting loudly at the waiter "you mean you don't take dollars???"  We were appalled.  She apparently had no euros and was demanding that he accept US dollars as payment.  He spoke English well enough to direct her to a bancomat, but she was refusing.  It was so horrible and pretty much exactly what I think of as typical American tourists.  Of course for every American tourist like that, there are probably dozens more that I didn't notice who defy the stereotypes.  And I think the American stereotype I have is most true in Europe.  In Africa and Asia, caucasian Americans stand out a bit physically, but they don't seem to meet the same stereotypes of being loud and culturally insensitive.  In Africa and Asia, I noticed that Americans were larger (not necessarily overweight), but it seems that is less and less pronounced as Asians particularly seem to also be getting larger.  And in Africa and Asia, Americans may still be mono-lingual (I think Chinese is very difficult, and I never made any effort to learn any local language in Africa, relying solely on English and French), but they don't seem to demand in the same way that others speak their language.