i lost myself once

I found myself today.

 

You didn’t know I was lost, did you? Neither did I.

Continue reading “i lost myself once”

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healthy=happy, but does it?

A long time ago, someone told me that the only way to truly make any legitimate physical changes was to look down at myself and be so disgusted that I can’t go on anymore. And that has been the main motivation for most of the exercise and diets I’ve chased for the last several years.

I’ll get on some kick and only eat leafy greens for two weeks, or hop on the latest Insanity kick (and ruin my knees), or do nothing BUT work out on as little food as possible until my body or my motivation gives out and I fall face-first into a steaming hot pile of pizza and chocolate chip cookies.

ugh. it doesn’t even look that appetizing from this point of view

But the thing is….I genuinely like living a healthy life. It’s important to me to know where my food is coming from, and what exactly is in it. I enjoy giving my body the foods it needs to use as fuel throughout the day. I feel SO GREAT about my body, my life, and the world, when I am regularly exercising. When I’m consuming enough water and getting enough sleep (which is infinitely easier, deeper, and shorter when I’m taking care of myself), I walk around every day feeling like the world is on my side and I can conquer anything.

So why do I keep falling into the same old pit of despair and fast food?

What is it in me that thinks convenience is a better alternative than health?

I’ve been batting this question around internally for the last few months. Having come home from the Race with a parasite, I had to be even more cautious about food and, while it required more effort and concentration than I was used to, the way I physically responded was remarkable. No more digestive issues, no more stomach cramps, headaches were gone, and both insomnia and hypersomnnia became non-issues. Further bonuses- I was losing weight and my skin was clearing up!

I felt incredible!


this girl does, too

Which led me to say things like, “I guess I could have a piece of that cake that everyone’s enjoying” or “I haven’t had fast food in ages, and I’m actually running really behind so I guess it couldn’t hurt to pop in somewhere for a burger and fries” or really any alternate version of any of these things. It was a sloooooow process of falling back into poor eating habits, but here I find myself. And along with that, I noticed that the more terrible foods I ate, the less I exercised. And the less I exercised, the less energy I had, the worse I felt in general, and the more I wanted to sleep. Just, all the time.

It’s a freakin’ snowball effect.

Seriously. Once that ball starts rollin’ it’s a fast downhill slide.

And so here I am, once again, stuck at the bottom of the Hill of Health, looking up, and being pretty intimidated by the climb. I’m at a place where I look at myself with just enough revulsion that I roll my eyes, mutter something rude about my body under my breath, and start clambering up once more. And immediately start to sweat.

But the thing is, I’m going to fail.

Yep. Again and again and again.

Why? Because I’m approaching the idea of a healthy lifestyle from a place of self-hatred. Who succeeds when that’s the motivation?!

I have to start approaching my lifestyle from a place of LOVE and RESPECT.

We just get the one life, y’all. The one body. That’s it. And whatever comes with it- acne, thin hair, bad genes, a predisposition to this or to that. Guess what? That’s never going to change. We can take acne medication and use rogaine, but we will never, ever, ever be able to change our genetics. What we have is what we have. So it’s not going to help anything by spending time and energy hating on ourselves.

I loooooove the way I feel when I choose healthy foods and when I spend time every day listening to my body and asking it to work a little harder. Maybe that’s a yoga class, maybe it’s a barre workout, maybe I’ll go on a nice run and enjoy a different view. I love it. I love all those things. Seriously life just feels better when my body feels better.

I’m sure it’s that way for you, too.

But we need to approach those hard choices (like should I eat this delicious salad with all these life-giving vegetables and that mouth-watering homemade Italian vinaigrette dressing or should I stop by McDonald’s and stuff a Big Mac down my face?) with the forethought of how our bodies will feel later. When we approach choices such as these from a place of love and affirmation, I really think we’ll be able to hit a home run. Because, honestly, those french fries NEVER taste as good as we remember they did. It’s all a mental game. I told myself just this weekend that YES, I neeeeed Chick-fil-a chicken nuggets and a chocolate chip cookie. First and last, they really really were not as good as I remember them being, and I also spend the entire night nauseated. Bleh. Not a fun way to spend a Saturday night.

But this morning, when I chose cheerios and fruit with a side of tons and tons of water, not only did I feel great about the choice I made, but I felt great physically, too. No gross chemicals or oil or grease, no hydrogenated this or treated that. And while cheerios still aren’t the best option, it was the better option when I compared it to my preference of a bagel with butter or cream cheese. So that’s like….a quintuple bonus! Feeling great about and because of small choices throughout the day. That one small choice led to a decision to head out for a run before work which I also felt totally jazzed about! (Even if it was a million degrees outside).

My problem (and I’ll wager yours, too) is that I have to stop approaching food and exercise as a punishment for poor lifestyle choices. I have to stop approaching them as a way of penance after I get to the place where I can’t stand my own body anymore. I’m never going to succeed that way. Believe me, I’ve tried! I’m sure you have, too.

So let’s all just take a deep breath and realize that our bodies are lovely. They were created to be exactly as they are, whatever shape they are. A mother’s stretched belly, a teen’s knobby knees, a little girl’s wispy hair, a grandfather’s wrinkled face. All so, so beautiful. Short, tall, fat, skinny, average, toned…. these are beautiful places to be. And once we start appreciating our bodies for what they are and what they allow us to do every day, we can start giving them the things they need to continue doing so. Bodies are amazing, you know. They will give and give and give even past the point of exhaustion, no matter what you ask, because that’s what they were designed to do. It’s time to start giving them the fuel to do the things we ask, rather than demanding things on empty.

I’m really just preaching to myself here.


this is our bossy face

My body has allowed me to travel to places, to endure pain, to grow tall, to lift heavy loads, to perform miraculous feats. I need to start treating it like the miracle it is, and embracing it for the wonder it was always meant to be. And from that place, I will be able to make wiser and healthier and better decisions, for a longer, healthier, happier life. Because as well all know, Healthy does, indeed, equal Happy. Happy bodies, happy minds, happy hearts.

I’ll share a favorite end-of-class mantra I teach in some of my yoga classes:

I’ll ask you to sit in easy, cross-legged position, with your eyes closed and your palms pressed together in a prayer position at the center of your heart. Sitting nice and tall to give your lungs room to breath, all your muscles are relaxed after a long class of hard work. I’ll ask you to sit in silence and be fully present, listening to your body tell you all the wonderful things it feels: that tension in the left side of your neck from typing at a computer all day is gone; your shoulders feel a little lower and heavier, slipping a little further from your ears, much more relaxed than at the beginning of class; even the spaces between your toes are sighing in relief, having soaked up all that intentional movement from today’s class. I ask you to take a moment and silently express gratitude- gratitude for your breath which comes and goes providing life without thought, and gratitude for your body, for allowing you to do all the things you do each and every day without question, without hesitation. Feel that gratitude deep down in your gut, in a place that can’t be torn from you. Embrace your body in all its flaws, its imperfections, all its less-than-beautiful areas. Appreciate your body for the things it does for you, whether you acknowledge it or not. Love your body from a place that wants to see it grow and live a long, healthy life. Remember what this day, what this moment feels like- what it means to truly have a love for yourself.

Freedom.

Namaste.

garden of eden hiking

originally posted at http://andimoore.theworldrace.org

Today I hiked through the Garden of Eden.

From andimoore.theworldrace.org

Or it was, at least, the closest thing I could imagine.

From andimoore.theworldrace.org
Have I mentioned we’re living in Paradise this month?

Our host’s sweet daughter JoJo took us on a hike through the jungle to a waterfall this morning. It was the loveliest thing I think I’ve ever seen. We hiked up riverbanks, over multiple creeks and a manmade bridge, through thick jungle underbrush on a tiny dirt path, and underneath trees of all sorts: coconut, mango, palms… lovely.

From andimoore.theworldrace.org

The hike took us about an hour, and it wasn’t very strenuous at all (if you don’t count humidity that cements your clothes and hair to your skin). It was also lucky that a typhoon was hitting one of the other islands, because it wasn’t nearly as hot as it normally is.

From andimoore.theworldrace.org

I felt like an Adventurer, a Trekker, a real Pioneer Woman, and if you’re asking- yes, I did let my imagine get away with me. We only say two or three houses on the trip, so it was isolated enough to feel totally separate from the world and all its modern conveniences. Except for the ipod in my hand (for photos) and the chacos on my feet (seriously one of the best investments I made as a baby Racer), I imagined myself to be trekking through the wilderness, blazing a new trail for myself. It was a Last of the Mohicans meets Pirates of the Caribbean, starring ME! It was a good daydream.

From andimoore.theworldrace.org

I’m convinced that God’s glory is found in the quiet places of the earth; those places we haven’t yet fully touched. I’m convinced He is a Lover of beauty and that He loves to look upon things that bring a sense of peace and serenity. The quiet of the jungle, the swaying of the trees, the rush of the waterfall: these are the things that draw me near to the Presence of God.

I’m not saying He can’t be found other places; He is in all things.

But for me, leaving the man-made and being surrounded by only the God-made sure does make Him seem a lot closer, and a lot more intimate.

From andimoore.theworldrace.org
Red River Gorge ain’t got nuthin’ on this! (JK/ILY, RRG)

When we reached the falls, it was smaller than I had imagined (of course, comparing it to the last waterfalls we visited in El Salvador), but it was a little more secluded, and their beauties were incomparable: they are just in two separate categories. These falls allowed you places to jump from or slide from. I watched as my teammates did both, smiling and laughing and having a blast. I’ve never jumped from anything before, so after a long, long time, a little hyperventilation, some nervous shaking, and a ton of encouragement from my teammates, I took my first jump off a cliff: the baby one. Still conquered it, though! And I’m really glad I did.

p4

We swam around for awhile, people jumped a lot, some guys shampooed their hair, and we sunbathed on a few of the larger rocks. It was a nice, relaxing (except for the fear-of-heights-issue), and lovely morning. I feel ready to continue attacking our manual labor ministry (of course it’s manual labor…but you can read more about that in a later blog), and to continue diving into who God is, and what He desires for me.

This morning really reminded me of how important rest is, whatever that means to your soul. It reminded me of the importance of taking advantage of every opportunity to dive into the waters of God and enjoy His goodness. I’m grateful for this morning, and I will continue to look for opportunities to seek and surround myself in how very, very beautiful His is.

From andimoore.theworldrace.org

tai chi in tibet

originally posted at http://andimoore.theworldrace.org

I did Tai Chi this morning!!

Let me begin a little further back.

I grew up doing martial arts: Shotokan karate, judo, wushu kung fu, jiu jitsu, capoeira. I have loved every minute of every day training, jumping, bruising, sweating, running, breaking- all of it. The good and the tough. The whole culture of martial arts has been ingrained in me from an early, early age: respect, integrity, honor. The culture of sport martial arts has also been ingrained in me: energy, passion, flair, and a little cockiness.

In other words, I lived for classes and competition.

When I was in my very early twenties, my mom found a Tai Chi class that she wanted to take. It was the only near-martial arts class we had found in awhile (having moved away from our town and therefore our karate studio), so I decided to join her.

I hated it.

It was so slow! So slow and breath-centered and quiet, and there was no flashiness, no energy, no KIAH!

I was disappointed and bored.

Needless to say, I didn’t return. Thanks for the one class, sir, but no more for me.

Years later, after my retirement from competition and sport karate (my body had had quite enough, unfortunately), I became a yoga instructor. Funny how things come full circle… yoga is very much a slow, intentional, breath-centered endeavor, quiet and inwardly-focused.

Not at all like my glory days with martial arts.

But I love it. I love the way it makes my body feel, I love the way it soothes my mind and calms and focuses my breathing. I love the control it gives me over my emotions and thought and body. I love it.

Fast forward to October 2013. My World Race squad is sent to China, while my team ends up in the territory of Tibet (how cool is that??). Our contact lets us know that there is Tai Chi in the town square in the mornings.

Tai Chi? I know Tai Chi! I hated it a million years ago, but maybe now it’ll be different… Also, we’re in stinking China/Tibet. If there was ever a time and place to go do some Tai Chi in the town square at 7 am in the freezing cold, it was NOW.

Karilyn and I jogged the fifteen minutes or so it took to get there, and then joined the only group we could find: a large number of middle-aged women in jogging suits and face masks (this is a big deal here), doing what can only be described as Chinese Zumba for Senior Citizens. No Tai Chi anywhere in sight.

Only the tiniest bit disappointed, we decide to join the women and dance around a bit. I feel a little like the young Japanese girl from The Karate Kid II, when she’s doing a traditional dance for Daniel, only with cheesier music and faster movement. At one point Johnny Cash’s Hurt came on as an introduction to the traditional Chinese music and it was both awesome and hysterical.

Anyway, after the second song or so, I notice a group of older men across the courtyard who were most definitely doing Tai Chi. I mention to Karilyn that I think I’d like to go join them (after the current Zumba song, of course), and she mentions a little worriedly that there are only men over there. Which I also think is a little scary, because what if I go over there and they say no, I can’t join?

But how many times am I going to be here in China/Tibet (Chinet? Tibina?) standing within a hundred yards of men who have been doing Tai Chi their entire lives?

So when the song ends I buck up my courage and walk purposefully toward the men and who have are still moving to their music.

I do my best version of charades and ask to join them. They nod with what looks like a little reluctance, and I join in with fervor and abandon.

It was ecstasy.

All their stances were things I had studied for years: front stance, horse stance, cat stance. The arm movements were a bit tricky, but my brief foray into kung fu helped me catch on decently fast. It was slow enough for me to focus on my breathing, as well as what I should be doing with all my limbs.

After the song ended, the men gathered around me and started speaking in rapid Chinese which I understood nothing of. And we’re talking full paragraphs. I tried listening very hard, hoping to hear one of the phrases we had learned in yesterday’s Mandarin class: How are you? What do you do for a living? Where are you going? But no such luck. I smiled, and laughed, and held my hands palm up while shrugging to let them know I had no idea what they were saying. And then I asked their names (one of the few phrases I’m comfortable using). I heard Wo (pronounced Wawe) something, Zhou (Joh) something, and another name that was four syllables long. I asked them again later, to try to remember them, but I just couldn’t. I am not an auditory learner, that’s for sure. Maybe next time I can get them to write their names down.

After I introduced myself as well, they turned the music back on (super traditional, old-soundy music), and back to Tai Chi we went. After this next form, they all pointed at me and gave me thumbs up, smiling and laughing. I hope that means they thought I was doing a good job, and not what is she doing? this is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen…

We did three or four more forms before the end of our time together that morning, and each was more awesome than the last. I was finally getting the hang of all the different kinds of movement and turns and balances. It was so much fun, and I could feel my muscles warming and stretching and working, just like they do during our Insanity workouts, just with less burning and sweating.

I had the best time this morning. I’m hoping to go back as much as possible in our last two weeks here. I’m hoping to build on my conversational skills so I can at least communicate a little bit with the 71-year-old, 62-year-old, and 56-year old, all of whom (when I told them I was 28) thought I was kidding and only 18. Ah, the humor of grandpas.

I’m sitting back at home now, waiting on breakfast and worship with my team, and I don’t know if I could feel any happier or more at peace. There is much to be broken-hearted over in this town, with its enormous Buddhist monastery, and it’s popular Muslim mosque, and it’s absolute 0% Christian population. But being with some of the townspeople this morning, joining them in their world just a little bit, gives me a little insight into who they are as people, and a lot more love for them.


 

Update: I ended up running to the town square multiple times during the month, to practice Tai Chi with my new friends. The eldest (and who I assume to be the leader), offered me individual instruction between sequences, in the form of grunts, stomping, and slapping. These were some of the cooler moments of an already amazing experience. It was just like being back home in my karate studio, being corrected and trained by my coaches and senseis. I ended up showing them an old kung fu form that I performed a million years ago, and every morning after they requested to see it. The only word that we ever communicated well with each other was in reference to it: “Wushu?” “Yes, Wushu!” I learned a lot from these quiet, wise men, and had made some of my best memories on the Race.

This is one of the highlights of my year. I will remember this day- and this month- for the rest of my life.

 

From andimoore.theworldrace.org
from one of the many mornings i trained with them

From andimoore.theworldrace.org
my tai chi master, whose name i never could figure out, but who offered me special instruction daily

an article i read today

originally posted at http://ohdancewithme.blogspot.com

This article has been copied verbatim from http://www.elephantjournal.com/2013/06/i-certainly-dont-want-to-teach-you-yoga/. Please check it out and give your love and support. This is one of the most breathtaking and loveliest articles about yoga I’ve ever read, so I invite you to join me in sharing a spirit of love and goodwill. Enjoy:

I like people—I love people—but on certain days, I don’t want to see people, and today I don’t want to teach yoga.

I wouldn’t say I’m a complete introvert. But on certain days,
I want to be under something soft.
I want to observe and I want only to listen.
I love you, I do,
But on certain days
I don’t want to touch you,
I don’t want to talk to you,
I don’t even really want to see you and
I certainly don’t want to teach you yoga.

When I started teaching, this freedom to hide, to crawl under, slide behind, to take the back door, side door, in and out—anything but the front door—all changed.
On days I want to hide, I have to show up. I have to squeeze into something relatively small and tight. I have to step into a room with an entire wall of mirrors and turn the temperature up high so that what is small and tight becomes smaller and tighter.
I have to arrive not fashionably late but 30 minutes early—the first to arrive at the party I don’t even want to be at. I have to arrive early, not as an anonymous guest or a friend of a friend, but a generous host.
See, my job is to make sure everything is ready. The room is ready, the lights are ready, the temperature is ready, the props are ready and then I have to stand by the entrance way and find a way to smile and greet all those people I might not want to see today because I am a yoga teacher and… yoga is about connecting.
And when I see the brunette with the high pony who walked out on me in the middle of savasana last Sunday, I will greet her just the same as the rest. I will greet her and I will stand tall and breathe when I do it because, if I’m going to lead a group of students through a series of backbends, I better learn to stand tall and offer you a hair elastic band even though you made me cry because I am a yoga teacher and… yoga is about connecting even in the unpleasant moments. 
And when I walk into a room with an entire wall of mirrors I will look into my own eyes when I talk about drishti. I will look into my own eyes even when I ate chocolate cake for breakfast and skipped meditation to look up all my ex-boyfriends and all my ex-boyfriends girlfriends on Facebook because I am a yoga teacher and… yoga is an honest practice.
And when you lift your foot higher than it needs to be in tree, I will find my vrksanana. I will keep my left toes on the earth and my hip-bones square to the mirror and I will connect to what is beneath me even though everything feels like water because I am a yoga teacher and… yoga is finding the courage to lead, even when you want to follow.
And when I see your hips lifted in child’s pose, I will offer you an adjustment. I will place my palms on your low back on an inhale and I will press down on an exhale. I will sync my breath with yours, your breath with mine, and I will be taken out of my own silly cycle of too many thoughts for a minute because I am a yoga teacher and… yoga is about something bigger than the physical body.
And after we finish Kapalabhati I will invite you to seal your practice. And when you seal your practice, I will seal mine by thanking the earth for every one of you. And I will send you love and I will send a little more to you, brunette with the high pony because I am a yoga teacher and… yoga is about letting go.
And when I walk out the door and leave you in savasana, I will resist the urge to check my phone within the first 30 seconds. And when I’m cold and I wrap myself in a blue towel, I will resist the urge to put the towel over my my whole head. I will resist the urge to run after sharing something vulnerable. I will instead drape the towel over my shoulders and I will wear it more like a blue cape and I will invite you to sit and have tea with me because I am a yoga teacher and… yoga is a courageous practice.
And when you sit with me and tell me that class was special I will resist the urge to deflect the comment by complimenting you on your very exciting pink tank-top. I will meet your gaze and because my pores are wide open. I will allow the gratitude to enter every cell of my body because, as much as yoga is about giving… yoga is about learning to receive.
And after I hear you, I will stand there in a blue-towel cape, a little bit proud. Because after 60 minutes of teaching I will see each student and notice the difference in them from when they first came in.
I will see them and I will become less aware of what is small and tight and stuck to me and more of aware of what is big and round and bigger than me and I will be reminded that… this practice isn’t about me.

As as soon as I’m reminded of this, I want to disappear
A little less.

resolution may: physical health

originally posted at http://ohdancewithme.blogspot.com

I’m going to say this quickly, before my courage, motivation, and will-power abandon me.  My resolution for the month of May will be to work out 5 days a week, and if I work out a 6th day, I’ll reward myself with something (other than food). And that will be the only reward I get, because working out every day should be part of my lifestyle, not an occasional activity meriting a reward.

I’ve been really neglecting my physical health lately. Bearing the image of God, and being the abiding place of His Holy Spirit, I need to be more mindful of my body, and the things I’m allowing to “nourish” it. I’m starting with exercise, because for me- good habits beget good habits. It’s much easier for me to choose healthy meals and snacks when I know my body needs enough of the right kind of fuel to not just get through a day, but get through a workout.  Perhaps next month I will re-visit only making healthy food choices, or perhaps that will trickle in during this month of intentional exercise.  I know I attempted this in February, only to end the month with a severe sinus infection. Surprisingly enough, today is the first day of May AND the first day of a NEW sinus infection. But we press on anyway!

Now that this statement is public, I must hold myself to it, so…

Here’s to a month of being reminded of the importance of attention to my body and physical health!

bridal boot camp day 1: food Is fuel

originally posted at http://ohdancewithme.blogspot.com

My best friend is getting married!!!!!! Bryan proposed to Sarah on Monday, 1/2/12 and she said yes!! It was a truly magical moment, and I was lucky enough not only to be able to witness it, but to have a part in it, as well.  Sarah always said she wanted her friends and family there with her when he proposed, and Bryan was wonderful and gracious enough not only to organize getting us all there, but to let us be part of it.

Having said that……….it is now time for BRIDAL BOOT CAMP.  Neither Sarah nor Bryan want a long engagement (they’re shooting for this summer- mere months away), which means the ladies in Sarah’s life need to get on the ball, food-and-exercise-wise.  Today is Day 1!  I won’t be blogging every day about this, but I will be keeping up with progress, trials, obstacles, failings, and goal-achievements as the months progress.  Sarah has asked that I encourage her daily to keep on her own diet and exercise plan, and to nag as much as I can so she’ll be annoyed enough to actually follow through, rather than making excuses (which we both are really terrific at).  I said “no problem” to both the encouragement and the nagging.  Not only will it remind me of my own food and exercise choices (because EVERYTHING is a choice), but it will give us excuse after excuse to talk to each other often.  And not that we need excuses, but we both struggle with getting busy in our daily lives and not talking for days or weeks at a time, even when she physically lived 5 minutes away.  So this will be a good thing.

Today, as the first day, I started thinking about how I could help myself, and therefore Sarah, through this process.  I’m really great at starting projects, and then slowly dropping them instead of seeing them to completion.  I looked back over my previous attempts at changing my lifestyle, and I noticed a pattern with every attempt.  I, like all women who decide to change their eating and exercising habits, want to see change immediately.  I either don’t see change and quit, or see some changes happening and start making excuses to slack off (“Well, I’ve lost ____ lbs, so I think I can probably handle a few cookes…”), and it just ends badly.  And at this point in life, I not only gain the weight I lost BACK, but I gain plus some.  NOT OKAY.

So I figured this time, getting at the root of the problem, I just might be able to make a permanent change.  I need to stop seeing food as a reward, and start seeing it as what it is: FUEL.  I shouldn’t say, “I made it all day long without cheating, so now I’m going to have one ______”.  I need to just say,”I made it through today making healthy choices, my body feels great, and that’s all the reward I need!”  And mean it.

I think I’ll keep “Food is fuel” as my mantra for awhile, maybe the first couple weeks, until I really get that mindset firmly rooted.  It’s going to take a lot of self-discipline and willpower to change poor habits I have created slowly over my entire life (especially the latter years), but I really think I can do this.  I really think Sarah can do this.  I KNOW we can do it together.  It really helps that their engagement won’t be extended.  It will help a great deal more when they set their date, knowing specifically when our deadline is.

As for now, I’m really excited to go through this journey with Sarah- to watch her challenge herself mentally and physically, to watch her grow into her role as a fiance and bride, to watch as all her dreams come true.  I know that they will.

my first 5K!

originally posted at http://ohdancewithme.blogspot.com

This morning I ran my first official 5K.  It was for EKU’s Homecoming, and it was incredible.  The day didn’t start out well, however.

I woke up super early, which was unfortunate since I didn’t get to sleep until late the night before.  When I woke up, however, the sun was streaming through my window…all signs pointing toward greatness.  I was encouraged to walk to the registration area, since the road might be closed due to the upcoming parade (following directly after the start of the 5K). So I walked.  And walked.  And walked and walked and walked.  Speedily.  We aren’t talking leisurely stroll.  I had somewhere to be!  Nearly a mile and a half later, I finally get there.  “Is this where we pick up our numbers for the 5K?”  The reply: “No, sorry.  It’s at the other gym.”  AWESOME.  I am not happy.  I’m really, really frustrated, and really, really concerned that I’m going to be too tired to finish the run.

But after another quarter mile walk, I arrive at the actual registration site, get my number and my sweet shirt, and run downstairs to the locker rooms to change. Well…the shirt was a medium. In most cases this is no problem, because shirts run small usually.  However, this particular shirt was HUGE.  Absolutely enormous.  It actually looked like a dress.  So, I’m already tired AND I’m running in a dress.  This stinks.  Luckily, my running buddy Casey is THE most selfless, caring, considerate person on the planet and graciously offered her small shirt in exchange for my medium.  Realizing how selfish this is of me to accept, I do so anyway, under her encouragement that she wouldn’t wear the shirt after today anyway (yeah right, Casey…but you’re too incredible to let me feel bad, so you lie anyway. Lovely girl).

So finally we both arrive at the starting line (another quarter mile away), to be greeted by tons of friends, smiles, and well-wishers. We get a few minutes of quick stretching in, and the race is on!  I didn’t realize we would be running on the roads, and in front of a parade, so the entire town had filed out to watch the whole thing.  We ran past hundreds and hundreds of people, all clapping and cheering.  It was really encouraging, and somewhat distracting, and I got a little more winded in the first mile and a half than I would have liked.  But it was really cool to run in front of a crowd, and to hear people cheering us on.  Unexpected, and really official-feeling.

We ran up SO MANY HILLS. And they were STEEP.  It was rough.  I really hoped to finish the run without walking at all, but around the mile and 3/4 mark, when we were literally running up the side of Mount Everest, I needed a break.  I made it to the top, and then Casey and I walked (quickly) for a few seconds so I could catch my breath.  I felt a little disappointed, but then I thought of the 2 miles I speed-walked directly before the race and I let that comfort me a little.

Casey and I walked twice more, for a very short amount of time, and finished the run in 37:07.  Not too bad considering.  We were greeted with water and oranges, and high fives all around from friends who finished before us.  It was an incredible experience.  I’m so grateful I had the opportunity and courage to participate.  It was a big step for me, and I’m so thankful to have friends who can encourage and push me past where I think I can go.  What a day.

paperweight on my back, cover me like a blanket

originally posted on April 21, 2011 at http://ohdancewithme.blogspot.com

I’ve been a member of an amateur mordern dance company through my university for many years. I took this last season off so I could work more, pay some bills, and really focus on my yoga teacher certification training. Consequently, it’s been a long, long, LONG time since I’ve danced, and even longer since I just went into the studio and played around with music and movement.  Well, last night was the end of that streak!

A good friend of mine, Zach, showed up to play with choreography with me, and we went to town. I’ve been obsessed with the song Paperweight by Joshua Radin and Schuyler Fisk lately- it just makes me want to dance. You know music like this. I asked Zach to come by and help me throw a duet together and, boy, did we. We have just over a minute twenty finished, and just about two minutes to go. Luckily, we’ll be having more dance dates soon!

It was so cathartic for me to dance again…to just get on the floor and move my body a little. Yoga is incredible, and life changing for me…but nothing can take the place of dance. The music, the emotions, the performance aspect- it’s just…everything.  And the best part- his shirt and my socks matched! ❤

winky

originally written on March 6, 2011 at http://ohdancewithme.blogspot.com

Meet my new pilates ball, Winky!  He’s 65 centimeters around, dark blue, and features stay technology, which basically means there is a sandbag in the middle which keeps it from rolling away when I’m not using it. We’ve worked out pretty hard in the week we’ve been together. It’s a love/hate relationship, but I see a bright future together ahead.

new goals, new me

originally posted at http://ohdancewithme.blogspot.com

My roommate, a dietetics major and thoroughly knowledgeable about healthy eating, and I decided last night that we were tired of living in our normal, average bodies. We were going to go on a healthy-foods, low-calorie diet, and we were going to start exercising much more regularly. Both of us having been recently brokenhearted, we needed something to give our focus and attention to. What better than a new lifestyle?  I’ve decided to share mine here for an added bonus of accountability.

I started this morning weighing 150.2 lbs, 2 lbs more than I weighed last week, which is a direct result of my hedonistic and luxurious eating habits this past weekend.  My goal weight it 137 lbs, and my super goal weight is 135 lbs (simply because I’m not sure my frame can support that low a weight and still be healthy and toned).  I must drink a minimum of 64 ounces of water daily, and exercise atleast 30 minutes, 5 times daily.  Keep in mind this is a bare minimum, and I would like to exercise a full hour 5-6 times a week, making sure to keep one day for complete rest.  I’ve decided working as a server does not count, and the hours I spend on my feet will in no way count as “exercise” toward this particular goal. The obstacle I can see most clearly at this point is that I tend to be absolutely exhausted after week, and incredibly lazy before work, so in order to meet this part of the goal (and still work 40 hours a week), I’m going to have to be way more dedicated than I am.  I’m also planning to count calories. Every single one that I put in my body.  I’m limiting myself to 1600 calories daily in order to lose weight at a healthy pace, but my goal is 1350 calories.   So I’m shooting for 1350, but if I happen to trip over that line, as long as I don’t go above 1600 I won’t give myself too difficult a time, or too heavy a guilt trip.

So far today, for breakfast and lunch I’ve consumed 980. I went to Jimmy Johns with a friend and ate one of the healthiest choices on the menu (actually, only HALF of that sandwich) but that still was a huge hit to my count.  And I’ve only had 14 ounces of water.  So for my late afternoon snack and for dinner I only have 370 calories allotted.  Looks like I’ll be consuming a ton of vegetables and 50 more ounces of water and hoping my stomach won’t be too unhappy with not enough breads and sugars, like it’s used to.

These are my new goals. I have a great habit of starting a new goal and being really motivated for about a week, and then allowing it to just kind of piddle away…  Here’s to not allowing that negative habit to control me again!

Healthy = Happy