Thursday, December 31, 2009

Fit Flops are my 12th man

From Blog

When you need a helping hand, Fit Flops can be YOUR 12th man! Fit Flops help tone your legs and bottom! 

I love Fit Flops! I got some last year after I read about them in a magazine, I think I wore them all year, any time I wasn't working. The rest of my flip flops are collecting dust. I just received my new Fit Flop Lounge Slippers which really are clogs; I love them!

From Blog

If you aren't familiar with Fit Flops, they are shoes made from micor-wobbleboard technology which helps work out your legs and bottom because you are constantly making minor changes to stay balanced. It isn't like you are going to fall over, you don't even notice you are trying to stabilize yourself, that is the best part! They are great support for your feet too. I wear my all day and walk around and my feet never hurt.

I wore mine during ACL Fest in Austin, Texas which is a 3 day music festival. I wore them the entire time and my feet felt great. Previous years, my feet have felt tired and achy.

From ACLFest2009

I got myself some "ugg-like" boots recently and wore then for 5-6 hours shopping after Christmas, my feet were killing me! And my feet hurt for days afterwards. Doing balancing postures in yoga were difficult, my feet felt strained all the time.

But not with Fit Flops! They are the best shoe I have ever owned, period.

Fit Flops Help:

  • Improve leg, calf and glute muscles
  • Improve posture
  • Mimic walking barefoot 
  • Improves muscle tone
If you are interested in getting some, I suggest shopping around. I got my latest ones at Amazon. Free shipping and easy returns make Amazon my choice .

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Big D Climb - it's More than Just Climbing 52 Flights of Stairs

I got a wonderful email from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with a PDF file attached, it is the training schedule for the Big D Climb I am completing as one of my 24 events in the 2010 Bike Run Yoga Challenge.

After looking at the training schedule, I might want to rethink my strategy. The first week looks fine, it is just basic training kind of things and it says after the first week the average person should be able to complete 5 - 7 minutes of consistent stair travel. Sounds easy right? When I think about how long it takes me to go up three flights of stairs at work and how winded I am, I am thinking 5 - 7 minutes is going to kick my butt.

From Blog

But that isn't the worst part. Week 2 wants me to jump rope for 5 minutes. Just once a week but 5 minutes?! My trainer at the gym tried to get me to jump rope for just 30 seconds at a was a sight to see. Picture the worst jump rope jumper and then times that by 10 and that was me. The rope would get tangled around my legs. I couldn't actually jump rope by jumping up, the only way I managed to do it was the way I did when I was a kid and it is more like skipping rope. I spent more time restarting or untangling myself. Hysterical to watch.

I was so bad at it my trainer gave up and she found a different exercise for me.

So in my true rebel fashion, I don't think I will stick to the training schedule, though it was nice of them to send it, I always enjoy knowing what I SHOULD be doing. The only correct training schedule I stuck to this year was my Team in Training schedule for my San Diego Marathon. The rest of the events I did I only half trained if at all. I never had a injury and my recovery period for most events is very short. I contribute most of my success in avoiding injuries to yoga. Being flexible makes you nimble and able to withstand many things.

Monday, December 28, 2009

My Yoga Practice is Still Growing

Every once in a while something happens that reminds me I still need yoga, and daily! Today was one of those days. I made it through most of the class very focused, then in stretching I grabbed my toes and noticed one of my toe nails was cracked. I obsessed  the rest of class. Granted there was just one more stretching and spine twist but in my head it seemed like an eternity!

And why? A reasonable question. For starters, I was trying to think of what I did to crack the nail. Then I wanted to feel it and make sure it was really cracked and broken…I mean, maybe the polish was just chipping off. Then I remembered class had several teachers and I had decided to set myself right next to the podium…not the best situation to lose focus and obsess over a toe nail!

And then of course, there was the thought of blogging about it!

By the time I got home, I had forgotten about the nail, making it even more ridiculous that I would allow such a minor thing steal my focus. But isn't that the way things are outside of yoga? We let the little things take over our minds and we obsess over them or allow them to be the focus when really they are not that important at all.

I do better staying focused and not letting the little things distract me since I started yoga but I still need a lot of work. It’s a daily task and yoga is just part of completing that task. Ninety minutes in a room, focusing just on me…and trying to not think of anything but me and the posture at the moment is hard but certainly doable. Life is something else.

Tomorrow I will go back and see if I can get through all of class without worrying about my toes, the birds or anything else that might allow me to procrastinate the task at hand for one that is less important but way more fun to think about.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bikram Yoga on Christmas Eve, a New Tradition

I went to Bikram Yoga today, love that the Austin Bikram Yoga Studio had several classes today, it gave me an opportunity to get some holiday stuff done and still make it to yoga. I've been sick with a nasty head cold for the last few days so I haven't done much but eat and sleep. I've been feeling piggy and sluggish, was SO glad to finally feel well enough to go to class!

I went to the new downtown studio on 5th street in Austin. It was a full class so I quickly set up my mat and set out my package of kleenex in case my nose decided to act up. Class was just short of wonderful, which, for being sick is really very good. I did all of the standing series, only not fully staying in Standing Bow Pulling Pose, but I at least DID all the postures, a mile stone for me in my sickly condition.

I was really quite impressed, I thought I would have a mildly adequate class since I hadn't been since Saturday and I was still under the weather. Instead I had a pretty strong class with only minor setbacks. My equilibrium was off so my balancing series was not as good as it could have been and my shoulder and back muscles were noticabley sore from laying around for the last several days.

In the floor series I was shocked at myself when we did Full Locust Pose and my chest shot up like I was going to fly off the ground. I was like Whoa! what is that?! Catherine the teacher even said I looked good! It was so weird, like my body picked that moment to say it was fine and on the mend. Second set I thought, lets see how high I go, maybe that was a fluke. And then boom, second set, same thing, wham....flying again! This is the type of thing that make the body so amazing, you can be sick and not have practiced in days and yet the body remembers and when it wants to show off, well, it does.
Now off to enjoy Christmas Eve with the family. Enjoy your holiday and don't forget to go to yoga! Namaste

Friday, December 18, 2009

Yoga is good Pre or Post Run

I received two running magazines today,  Women's Health Magazine and Women's Running, both had articles on the benefits of yoga for runners. Yoga seems to be in the health and fitness spotlight these days. A very "now" thing to do. I see it popping up everywhere in articles, blogs and television as something that benefits athletes from running to cycling to organized sports. So in case you didn't know, yoga helps increase flexibilty and strength which can help you perform better in other activities or help prevent injuries.

When I started training with Team in Training for my first marathon there was lots of discussion and warning about injuries, mostly with the IT band. They suggested some basic stretches to do to help prevent some of the most common injuries but what I found most helpful was practicing yoga. I had been practicing yoga for about 3 years before I decided to train for a marathon and I think that really helped me prevent injuries.

Also, during my training I practiced yoga as often as I could and could really feel where running had tightened my muscles or pushed something out of alignment. Sometimes after a long run I could barely walk my knees hurt so bad. It wasn't actually my knees it was more my inner thigh muscles tightened up so much they were pulling my knee ligaments. And after a long run have you ever tried to squat down and keep your knees properly aligned? You can't do it! It is because your muscles tighten up so much your body get's out of alignment.

So what is the solution? Well, according to Women's Health Magazine and Women's Running Magazine, yoga!

Here are some yoga poses I like to do after I run or go on a long bike ride: 

 Fixed Firm Pose (Supta-Vajrasana): Helps lengthen the rectus femoris, tibialis anterior and gluteus maximus...amoung other things. What does that mean? It lengthens the inner thigh muscles, easing the pain you feel when you run.

Wind Removing Pose (Pavanamuktasana): Wind Removing Pose is great for compressing the hip joint and then allowing fresh blood to rush back through the hip area.

Eagle Pose (Garurasana): Eagle Pose is also good for the hips. It helps gluteus maximus, adductor magnus (inner thigh muscle), and helps stabilze the hips.

Sitting Down Pose (Upavesasana): Sitting down pose is also so great for during or after running. You basically squat down, oepn your legs a bit and sit back on your heels. If you do it correctly you can really feel it in the inner thighs and calves. I like to ease from side to side, leaning into one side, then the other for a deeper stretch.

Try some of these poses after your next run or ride and let me know what you think!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Bike Run Yoga...that's my tri 2010 Event Challenge: Commit Today!

2010 Bike Run Yoga Challenge is HERE!! 

Bike Run Yoga…that’s my tri is about being healthy and doing what you love. I personally am not a fan, yet, of swimming so my ideal triathlon would be one where I could Bike, Run and do Yoga. This year, 2009, I challenged myself to complete 12 events in cycling, running or yoga. This was 11 more events than I had done the year before! And I did it! Just this past weekend I ran my 3rd half marathon of the year and it marked the end of my challenge.

Before this year I worked out modestly and had done some cycling and yoga but mostly PAID for yoga memberships and gym memberships with little “attendance.” I sat on the couch after work and watched tv or I would just surf the net all night. I was gaining weight and I had two choices, spend money to get new clothes or get and up and get exercising!

January 2009 started off with attendance at a Team in Training meeting in hopes of learning how to run a 5K and swim enough so I could do a sprint tri. At the meeting I phoned My friend Ginny and she somehow convinced me to run a marathon and that is how this all started.

As 2009 winds down, I’m already looking ahead to 2010 and my new challenge, 24 events in 2010! I’ve got my first one picked out, January 1 I am running the New Years 5K in Dallas, Texas.

Join me in this awesome personal challenge where you are sure to find out many things about yourself, perhaps the most important is that you can do anything you set your mind to. You CAN do it!

2010 Bike Run Yoga Challenge
How to enter:

1.      Post a Comment on this blog that you are committing to the challenge
2.      Follow the Bike Run Yoga blog
  1. Make a commitment to the challenge (this means post a comment here and tell me you are doing the challenge)
  2. Complete 24 events (Tri, duathlon, run, ride, swim, yoga or other organized event)
  3. Must be a finisher at the event (we use the honor system for verification)
  4. Submit your events, email address, full name and shipping address to Bike Run Yoga no later than January 5, 2011
What do you get? 

A free Bike Run Yoga T-shirt with all your events listed on the back. The events will be listed on the back with the name of the event and the event date. It will be custom made for you and shipped to you in 4-6 weeks.

Not enough incentive? 

Get paid to complete events! Buy a Bike Run Yoga T-shirt and wear it at your event. For every picture you send in with a Bike Run Yoga Shirt on and your number, Bike Run Yoga will give you $5. You must complete the Challenge to be eligible and all funds will be paid upon completion of the Challenge. If you wear a Bike Run Yoga T-shirt for all 24 events, you will get $120!

Here is a list of events I’m doing in 2010, it’s not a complete list but I’m working on it!

New Years Day 5K (Run) January 1
Too Cold to Hold 15K (Run) January 17
Big D Climb (Stair Climb) January 30
St. Patty’s Day Dash 5K (Run) March 13
Dallas Rock & Roll Half Marathon (Run) March 14
Tour Dallas (Ride) April 3
Big D ½ Marathon (Run) April 11
Too Hot to Handle 15K (Run) July
Hotter N Hell 100 (Ride) August
Tour Des Fleur's 10K (Run) September
Susan G Komen 5K (Run) October
Texas Yoga Asana Championships
Thundercloud Turkey Trot (Run) November
Mayors 5K (Run) December

Good Luck! I hope you will join me in this awesome challenge!
Questions? click here to email me.

When Running an Event Becomes more than just Running

I finished the White Rock Half Marathon

From WhiteRockHalfMarathon

I ran my last half marathon, last running of "any kind" event, last event period for 2009 Sunday and boy did it feel good! So good in fact I was overwhelmed with emotion and started to cry after I crossed. Ok, let's be honest, I wanted to cry about mile 12 when I realized I only had one mile left. One mile to reaching the end of perhaps my greatest athletic achievement-completing 12 running, biking or yoga events in 2009. It was an amazing feeling to know just 5 1/2 months ago a friend of mine and I were sitting around thinking of crazy things to challenge ourselves with and we decided it would be "fun" do complete 12 events this year. That was in August after we finished riding the Hotter N Hell century ride in Witchita Falls. I completed 6 running events and 1 yoga competition since then. A little crazy? yes. Hard as hell? yes. Having the amazing euphoric feeling of completing one of the hardest goals I've set for myself? Priceless.

The day started with a ride on the DART mass transit rail train from White Rock Station to Victory Plaza. For anyone that knows me, mass transit is not my thing. The last time I rode a Greyhound bus a roach crawled on my and I just remember my mother saying I never had to ride the bus again. I think that was in 1990. Of course, I have been ON mass transit since then, I am not a COMPLETE snob. I ride the rail or take cabs in cities where it is easy and used by lots of people and when I don't have a car because I'm on vacation. I don't take mass transit in my own city, I have a car and I only travel a small radius from my house.

But marathon day was different. they expected massive traffic and difficult parking situations; the DART rail was being marketed as the best way to get to the marathon. So I looked up the schedules, decided which trains I needed to take and got myself to the station. I was pleased to see lots of other runners there, at least I knew I was getting on the right train! I transfered from the Blue train to the Green which let us off right at the AA center where the run started. It was actually perfect! And for $ was a steal.

Standing around outside thought before the race was not that great. It was cold and windy and for some reason the event organizers thought loud screaming music was what people needed at 7:30 am. After freezing for a bit it was finally time to get in our corrals. Sorry White Rock event organizers...I cheated ok? I got in corral C when my letter said E. Please don't disqualify my time. :)

I was running the half marathon with my TNT alumni training partner Rhonda and she always puts a faster time down than I do and manages to get in a different corral every time! So I snuck in with her and we waited with everyone else. I start looking around at the buildings, noticing that one had the top floors covered with fog and I start to think how strange that must be to wake up to complete fog when the people on the street can see just fine. Then I move to a different building to see if anyone was on their balcony to watch us take off. And that is where it gets funny. I stare for maybe a good 10 seconds before I said something because I couldn't tell if it was a mannequin or a person. Then I said to Rhonda..."I think that person up there is naked." "What she says? Where?" I said, "up there, where the Christmas tree is. Oh, she's gone. I swear she was naked looking down at us." As we pondered this thought I look up again and then I see the lady AGAIN but this time she has on white pants, no top. "OMG, there she is, with pants on! She WAS naked! Now she has no top on!" This for some reason intrigued me. I suppose people that live high up think people on the street can't see them. But let's be serious. Thousands of people are down on the street getting ready for a marathon and that is the day you decide to stand at your window naked? And then why put on JUST pants?! So weird.

It was a good distraction though, I forgot to be cold and by the time I stopped thinking about the half naked lady we were moving and I was getting ready to press start on my watch. Rhonda and I had decided we would run intervals of 6 minutes running and 1 minute walking but we would just run the first set so that is really 13 minutes running then 1 minute walking to start.

After about 2 minutes and almost stepping in horse poo I was ready to quit. I mean, it was legs were tired....I wanted to be in a warm bed. Ok fine...I ran and we did well. We kept a good pace through about mile 5. There was a water station at mile 6-ish that had a little trouble pouring enough water and Gatorade and that slowed us down. This is where we lost each other. I looked around and didn't see Rhonda so I started running. I looked ahead of me and saw her turning the corner, she was a good 40 seconds to a minute a head of me. I had two choices, sprint and catch her or run my own race and see her at the end. I decided on the latter.

It was a good decision. I am a terrible running partner. I complain a lot and I tend to cuss at just about anything. When I run by myself, I rarely complain, I just chant postive thoughts to myself. It must have been somewhere along mile 10 I was saying to myself, "you can do this" out loud and a lady ran by and said "you CAN do this! You ARE doing this!" It felt so great, I smiled. There are other things I chant, "don't give up", "just keep running", don't stop", "you got this", "left, right, left, right", pretty much whatever gets me to the next point.

There are two things I love to see on the course, water stations and mile markers. When I see one ahead of me I usually try and make myself run to it, then take a break. They are like sweet oasises that provide joy and happiness. Water stations because I get to walk while I drink and take Gu or Shotbloks, mile markers because it means I am one mile closer. And this is how it went from about mile 7 to the end. It was a rough bottom half. I was cold, hot, sweaty, my feet were frozen so they felt hard as bricks and my legs ached as if I was at mile 20 of a marathon. Clearly TRAINING for a half marathon would be a good idea..I might try that for the next one. I've run two now with no real training and I survived but my times reflected my lack of effort before the race.

While I was in the last 5K of the race...all I could think about was the Mayors 5K I had just run the day before and how I was really just doing the same I just kept running along, stopping when I had to and forcing myself to move my legs after brief walks. I rounded the last curve and since I've never run the Katy Trail, I wasn't sure where the end was and the people standing around where not giving off the best energy, very little cheering going on so I kept the same pace I had been running. I wish I had known I was close, I would have sprinted in, I was just afraid I would poop out before I made it to the end. It doesn't matter though, I made it and crossed and I was overwhelmed. I started to cry as I walked away from the finishline but forces myself to hold it together until after I had taken my race photo. Then I fell apart. Not because I hurt but because I was so happy to have finished and completed what was once just a fleeting crazy thought from two girls that never had done more than one or two events a year.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

I Just Completed Event 11!

From Mayors 5K
Eleven events down!! It is such a great feeling to know I am so close to reaching my goal of completing 12 events in 2009. Tomorrow I run the White Rock Half Marathon and that will round out my 12 events!

Today I ran the Mayors 5k that is part of the White Rock Marathon weekend events. The day started off with me lying in bed at 6:00 am not wanting to get up, then as I was laying there, I heard this rush of water, it sounded like it all came down at once. I was like, WHOA! what is that?! OH MY GOSH! Rain! My mom had just asked me yesterday if I thought it was going to rain. Oh no isn't going to will be cold but no rain. Yea right. I debated going. But if I didn't go, I wouldn't have done 12 events and I would have not completed my goal. So begrudgingly I got up and got ready.

I thought the run started at 8 am so I hurried to get all my stuff together and headed out the door. I planned on taking yoga after the run so I had to get two sets of work out gear together and make sure I had enough food to make it through the day.

As I wound my way through downtown, I was surprise to see NO ONE around. Hmm, not a good sign. I saw some balloons blowing in the wind and assumed that was where the start was and found a place to park. I got out of the car and wow was it cold! I walked into the Dallas City Hall to more workers than runners, got my number and waited, and waited and waited.

From Mayors 5K

I met a fireman from Midlothian that just started running this year and pretty much sticks to 5k's. His wife is running the half tomorrow. Then I met a lady named Mackenzie, it was her first race. She also had just started running this year. She had just started running a few weeks ago! She plans on running the Rock N Roll Half Marathon in Dallas in March 2010.

Mackenzie and I went outside and froze for about 15 minutes. Then it was time to start and she took off! I thought to myself...hmm...I think she runs faster than me! lol That's ok. I am not fast, just determined.

The run started off down hill and the course was a mile and a half and then a turn around so I was dreading having to run back up it bu the down hill was a good start. I decided I needed to be at the half way point at less than 17 minutes to beat or be at the same time I ran the Susan Komen 5k earlier this year. I ran at what I thought was a good I was running a lady came up beside me and we ended up running the rest of the 5k together. It was great, she kept me at a good pace. As we came up to the turn around point I looked down at my watch and saw it was 17:19. I had two decisions, run faster or change the goal. As I ran I decided I wasn't trying to be a super star today, I was trying to run an easy run to prepare for tomorrow and my time was not the most important thing. So I ran at a nice pace but didn't push myself too hard and finished in 34:31.

So there it is, event 11 done. Looking forward to event 12 tomorrow...13.1 miles....and then goal accomplished!

From Mayors 5K

Thursday, December 3, 2009

My Mind is a Wander-er, as if it has a Mind of its Own

I don't know about the rest of you but for me, it doesn't matter how I look, I always manage to find something to nit pick. And today was no different. I was in Bikram Yoga class, standing perfectly still in between postures and looked down at my stomach. As I stared at it I noticed how it pooched out just ever so slightly and the edge of my shorts made a small crescent shaped curve around my tummy, coming in at each hip. Then my mind wandered and wondered if it was the late 80's or the mid 90's when it seemed like having a pooch-y stomach was in and girls started having bad posture and not tightening their stomach muscles.

I think it was the 90's. I was a little bigger then and not just pooch-y in the stomach, it was sort of an all around poof. I use to see girls in tank tops with the front ever so slightly riding up to show just a bit of their tummy. It seemed so sexy to me then. Now not so much. I would much rather have a flat, rock hard stomach than a pooch-y one, even if pooch-y is "in".

As I twisted and turned in class I started to get a taste in my mouth....what is that? Oh, right, it is residual taste from the protein shake I drank before class. That is not a good sign. And then, there it is...the uncomfortable feeling like my stomach is a balloon being stretched to its fullest capacity. And seriously people, you can't do a forward bend when your tummy is a balloon. Just isn't fun AT ALL.

I made it through class but it was a struggle. Sad too because other than that I felt like I had a strong class. So the moral of the story is don't drink Muscle Milk or any protein shake before class, only AFTER class. And stop thinking about it too! The mind is suppose to be IN the the present moment...not thinking of how the stomach is pooching out, or why it gets dark so early now, or what there is for dinner or all the work that needs to be, the mind is suppose to be focused on the room, the posture and yourself. They say we only use 10% of our brains anyway, certainly we can't spare any of the 10% to think about other things!
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