Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Comfortably Numb

Sometimes yoga just hurts. Like last week for instance. Or any other time I attempt it. Ha! Recently, I was attempting to hold boat pose. It's supposed to look like this:

You can also do modified boat, not as hard, still tough:

Or you can rock out boat pose like I do:

Anyways, my core, as I have previously stated is shot these days. I bring ZERO core strength to the table. I had run almost 4 miles and then went to a hot yoga express class. As we were attempting boat, the familiar burn started up. And then for the first time ever, I started shaking. Literally, my entire torso was just shaking. Hard. Like a leaf. I could barely hear or see anything as I was in so much pain and shaking trying to hold anything resembling boat.

The teacher, Jordan, who always says mindful and thought provoking things calmly states "it could be worse, you could feel nothing." I am pretty sure she was speaking directly to me.  She said this and I just started giggling. But I bit down and held it for a little longer. I know that if you repeat the same action over and over eventually the body accepts it and that is the new normal. But sometimes, my body just resists the strength I am trying to give it through yoga.

But the thought...the idea that pain is not the worst enemy is so thought provoking. There are at least a million other analogies on point. "Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all." The saying "the opposite of love isn't hate but apathy." And a top 10 favorite movie quote "Pain is the body's way of telling you you're still alive."

In other words, the enemy isn't hate or anger or pain or misery. The enemy is nothingness, the absence of experience or emotion, the failure to know pain and loss. The experience of pain means you are growing, changing, getting stronger. Heartbreak means you've known love. Misery means you aware of what joy can be.

And so...I must continue forward and enjoy the pain. Embrace the suck. Accept my roly poly panda excuse for boat. Someday, I'll straighten my legs and let go with my hands.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Back In the Saddle (Again)

My first official race report! So exciting. There are so many wonderful running blogs out there, including my own personal favorite: http://runscottierun.blogspot.com/

By far the best part of reading these blogs is the RACE REPORT. After hearing about someone training and working so hard to achieve whatever goal that might be, you finally get to hear whether they met their goal, what was unique and fun about the event and live vicariously through them as they cross the finish line.

The Johnston's Wichita Half Marathon is traditionally held in late April/ early May.  This run has been the same for many years and traditionally starts from a downtown park, runs an out and back course along our river walking paths and is a no frills very fast and flat course. This year the brand that bought up our fall marathon bought up the spring half marathon as well.

So now we have Prairie Fire Spring Half Marathon. Through some pretty substantial sponsorships, loads of marketing and lots of razzle dazzle, the spring half was held on Cinco De Mayo for the first time under the new leadership.  We had a wonderful cloudy, cool morning, a new course and almost twice as many runners as usual participating.

The actual run itself was not exciting or sexy or fabulous or fast or anything remarkable. My primary reason for the excitement was because it was my first race post-Nicholas. I had been in trial for most of April and found myself completely unable to make time to run. And so the challenge for me was simply to figure out if I could finish a half with minimal (no?) training. And to gauge how my body would hold up to two + hours of effort.

The race ended up being a complete blast. I had wheels and ray ray as my committed support crew, as they both wanted to run the half and didn't care about their time.

Scott initially claimed a plastic baggie
over his phone would not affect
photo quality.

Scott lied.
Through the intervention of 'not caring about his time' and an abundance of red wine, my husband joined in the fun with our little pack.  Around mile 1, we found our friend Amanda, who has a baby just a tiny bit older than Nicholas and also needed a "first event after baby" under her belt.

Shot from a friend's truck. I lost the ill fitting green hat and found
the adorable Amanda Oakleaf!!!
And so we ran. We ran though various residential and commercial neighborhoods, some beautiful parks and along our river path. We ran by

my office

the Keeper of the Plains

Friends University

And despite hardly training and being a squishy version of myself. Despite feeling that familiar ache in my lower abdomen and upper thighs. Despite relying on others to carry the conversation because I was out of breath. The miles just ticked off. Miles one through nine just flowed. We walked every mile marker for a minute or so, prodded on by Scott to run again, Scottie always the coach.

I struggled with my posture (as I always do) and was given consistent reminders by Scott to put my hips forward, pull my shoulders back, shorten my stride. I hurt. BAD...the last three miles. But after so many races and so many miles and years of running, I have the ability to acknowledge the pain, separate myself from it and just keep moving forward. Ten years ago, I would have quit when it started to hurt.  Now I just embrace the pain, accept my body is not where it needs to be and keep running. I looked at Scott at mile 12, during our walk break and sincerely said "This just hurts." Knowing I wasn't risking injury or anything but a little soreness, he told me we would probably pick up the pace a hair the last mile. (!)

And we did. And I lived. I did not mess with tracking mile splits but my final time was 2:25:28 or 11:06 minute miles! Now, my fastest half marathon is roughly 35 minutes faster...so yes we have some work to do. And yes I am not "back". But back in the saddle? I think so. Finishing 13.1 mile, no matter how ugly is a solid distance and a solid accomplishment. It felt good. So the saddle hurt and my body is not broken in. Yet.

Me, Kim, Nate, Nickki, Scott, Amanda, Renee, Kristen. Finished and happy.

The rest of cinco de mayo was spent shuttling kids, meeting up with la familia for a Lopez celebration and pretty busy mommy/ daughter/ wifey stuff. But for 2:25 minutes during a cool spring morning, I found that part of me that has gone missing the last year. The happy runner girl. The runner who high fives every kid cheering on the runners. The runner who laughs with friends at her lack of training. The runner who dresses "ironically". The runner who always forgets to stop her watch the at the finish line. I feel like I'm waking up that part of myself that has been in hibernation. And the fire is rekindled.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

QOTD: The Road of Life

The Road of Life:

I expect to pass though this world but once. Any good therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature let me do it now...for I shall not pass this way again.

I work with some pretty amazing people. Including my associate Kate, who I feel in many ways is my spiritual twin. We are both Catholic. Both questioning. Both spiritual. I had a birthday Sunday and she brought me a pretty awesome gift. A St. Jude medal and a couple prayer cards.  I needed all of it. One of the prayer cards had that gem of a quote on it.

Prayer card along with a picture of this week's calendar. In case you needed to find me later, I'm
 probably somewhere. Meeting myself coming and going. That saying never quite made sense to me
until I was a mama...now I'm pretty sure someone just like me coined the phrase!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Shine Bright Like a Diamond

So my life went on hold in April. Trial came and just completely wreaked havoc. As only trial can. Ask any litigator. The best comparison I can give to non-lawyers is that trial is like finals week and all the stress crammed into one day, every day, over and over. It's physically, emotionally, and mentally exhausting. Anyways, here is a post I started while in trial and finished today:

Winter has kept hanging and hanging on around my home. We typically get one big last blast of cold in March, perhaps one in April and then we steady warm up until our summer months where our climate is a cross between a convection oven and a wet sauna.

This winter continues to amaze me. After record breaking SNOW DAYS, we have continued to have little bursts of winter. We had another snow storm, this time, the snow did not stick around for too long. We have had a couple of bitterly cold evenings and mornings. In the midst of all this, spring has steadily charged forward. A few weeks ago, trees started blooming. Tulips poked their beautiful little heads of the dirt. Daffodils started peeking. And most importantly, the Bradford Pear trees are blooming. These trees always create a beautiful white reminder that spring and summer are coming and that we are drawing to a close of winter times. We have many of these trees in our neighborhood and around town.  The City lined our main freeway with these trees and one of my favorite things is to see the long lines of fat white flowering trees during these weeks in the spring.

Last week (mid April ), Jack Frost showed up again. Despite all the beautiful flowers and flowering trees…we got hit by a blast of the cold weather…again. One day, we got a lot of rain and freezing sleet. And more rain and more sub freezing temperatures. And then it rained some more.

When the storm hit, ice covered everything.  Streets, cars, street lamps and those precious beautiful flowers of spring. This storm risked killing off a lot of what we had waited so very long for.
This storm coated every leaf, berry, petal and flower in a thick layer of ice.
The day of the storm was dark and cloudy. There was no light coming in from the thick heavy blanket of clouds. That evening, I put my boys in their warmest fuzziest pajamas.  The next morning, we knew spring was back. The breeze was cold but there was warmth in the air. And the sun came out very bright.

I left my house, rushing around like usual. I got in the car to drive to work. In order to leave my house, I drive east, into the sunrise.  Rarely does anything in this world cause me to gasp. Or render me speechless.  
The rising sun hit the trees. The trees covered in white blooms and ice. And it looked like suddenly someone had placed millions maybe billions of sparkling diamonds all around me. The trees, the grass, the sky. It was bursting with the light of sun through the ice.

When it hit the white blossoms of the pear trees, the light was so bright and blinding that it positively took my breath away. I tried to get the baby to pay attention, but at five months old, in his rear facing car seat, I really couldn't get him to appreciate it.
Sometimes the stars align and you get the opportunity to see something magical. It was utterly, completely and totally impossible for me to capture the affect of the sun that day.  With my wee little iphone camera and my insane trial schedule and my busy day, I just had to try to commit it to memory. I have honestly never seen anything like it.

Sometimes this world of ours provides us the opportunity to witness beauty that cannot be captured in words or through pictures. And it is in those moments I get a glimpse of divinity so far beyond myself that I know God exists, eternity is real, and there is more to life than we will ever know.