My Yoga Mat, My Island

The alarm goes off at 5:15 am. It is dark, it is cold, but I wiggle out of bed anyway. In the blackness, I grab my clothes and head to the bathroom to get dressed. Afterward I will make my way to the door, grabbing my yoga mat and coat on the way. I always take the mat. Clutching it, I make my way to the yoga studio near my apartment.

Starting my days on my yoga mat insures I will breathe today. Deep inhales and exhales through the nose, the air tumbling through the small space in my nasal cavity before it makes its way into my lungs. The rhythm and fluidity of these breaths reflect how I am doing, whether my body feels good or is in pain, or whether my mind is betraying or benefitting me.

This hour allows me the luxury of just breathing, not thinking. So rarely do I focus on the moment at hand — mindfulness — instead allowing my mind to wander to all the other things in life. My yoga mat, which has been with me for at least a decade, is my island, allowing me the solitude to just focus on my body using my breathing as my guide.

My Yoga Mat, My Island

Get MOOving

I hate to admit this, but I have to put Moo on an exercise plan. since we moved from our two-level condo our puppy-of-a-cat has been gaining weight. Between the stairs and regular play sessions, he wasn’t as big as he is now. He’s a big cat and he is a lazy one. I also want to make sure he is a happy one.

Baby A and I went to the pet store where he picked out fishing toys for Moo. I thought that having A. pick out the toys when make it easy to teach him how to play with his kitty companion. Not even. My son thinks these toys are his.

So, in the evening after A. goes to bed, Moo and I play. Sometimes for five minutes, sometimes for 20 minutes; hopefully we can work up to an hour a day (that’s what baby and I need). Either way, I’m bonding with my little boy before there was little boy. I forgot how much I enjoyed playing with Moo. Glad that we’re doing it again.

Get MOOving

The Beauty of Schedules

I have never been a strict schedule kind of girl. I’m not sure why. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants person. I believe in being on time, but when it comes to me (and even Baby A) our daily events happen around certain times.

During Baby A’s first year, I had a schedule to go to the gym. I would wake up at 4 AM on most weekdays to workout and shower. On the weekends, I would sleep in and, if I went, it was a bonus. This schedule helped me lose 50 of the 60 pounds I gained when pregnant.

When we moved to Los Angeles we didn’t join a gym right away. I decided I would get up early and head to the track for my workouts. Weather, work and waking up got in the way of that plan. Even after joining the gym, morning workouts have proven to be difficult. But now, I have a schedule.

It allows me to go to the gym two weekdays and on the weekends. It gives me a plan. It alleviates the self-imposed guilt I have when I leave Baby A with M. It gives me the balance I need and have difficulty requesting. It’s a beautiful thing.

The Beauty of Schedules

Breaking the Seal

Last month when I was in Chicago, M. joined the gym near our apartment. He also signed me up. This isn’t a bad thing; it’s just the opposite. Belonging to a gym and actually going is part of our make up. Besides writing about exercise, I actually like to partake in it. Without it, I am not sure I would have survived my divorce, ran a half marathon on a whim, or lost 50 of the 60 pounds I gained during pregnancy. Since we moved back to California, I haphazardly would take walks or go to the track near our house for a workout. Honestly, life seemed a bit harder because exercise wasn’t a regular occurrence.

I have been a gym member for a month and last night was the first time I stepped through the doors. The proverbial seal was broken. It was great. I felt great. And everything seemed right in the world. Except for the fact that I’m a bit out of shape…but not for long.

Breaking the Seal

“Here’s a Crazy Idea”

M. and I utter these words to each other often. Sometimes the idea is a miss, other times it’s a hit. Like when I said those words to him last Thursday morning.

I was supposed to be taking off in a jet plane to the windy city with Baby a in tow, but  G’s illness (see Notes from a Small Hospital) made me postpone the trip. However, before planning my trip to Chicago to attend my Aunt G.’s 80th birthday, I had planned to go to the city by the bay to run/walk with 10,000s of women in the NIKE Women’s Half-Marathon as I have for the past five years.  Needless to say, I had scrapped the San Francisco plans to head to the Midwest. But on Wednesday night after I found out that G would be resting until his surgery was scheduled, I thought: “Why not run?”

So I made the crazy-idea phone call to Mike on Thursday morning, and here’s the thing, he answered with an enthusiastic “Let’s do it!” What’s more amazing: that’s the norm for us. One of us has an idea to move to another state, take a trip cross-country or start a business and, if it isn’t too ridiculous, we do it. It as made life a bit fun and unpredictable. For the most part, the outcomes have been good ones.

On Sunday, I set a personal record time for this course. Granted, I ran half of it, which I didn’t train to do. Normally, I racewalk it but I decided to keep up with my friend B. And, even though I am so sore today that I can barely walk, I’m so glad we made the trip. It made me realize that many things can be accomplished with fleeting crazy ideas (like running nearly 13.1 miles).

“Here’s a Crazy Idea”

Home

After living with my mom for a week in a retirement community somewhere outside of Palm Springs, I’m glad to be home. I don’t have a childhood home where each time I visit I can stay in my old room and be near the things I remember; my mom and stepdad have moved too much for that. In fact, I can remember five homes that I lived in from kindergarten until high school graduation.

Since then the meaning has changed. For me, home is…

…where M., Moo, Pumpkin and A. are.

…where the Internet is available 24/7 in any place in the house.

…where I know where everything in the kitchen is.

…where my son can run around and I already know the hazards.

…where there is little furniture, but each piece has a story or an inspiration.

…where I can walk to the bank, Starbucks, grocery store and, even Nordstrom. Also, at least one employee at each of the above knows me and Baby A.

…where I can walk through movie productions or premieres unexpectedly.

…where I can walk to a facility and train next to world-class athletes.

…where my Heavenly bed is.

…where my baby smiles, my kitties nap and my husband is.

These are the things that define my home (for now). In the future some of these characteristics will change, but not the first or the last ones on this list.

Home

Brand New Shoes!

My New Shoes!
My New Shoes!

There are few things that make me truly excited—brand new running shoes do. After two years, I’m retiring my Asics 2120s for 2140s (pictured at left). My old shoes served me well and it was time. They carried me across the finish line in two Nike Women’s Half-Marathon (2007: the week before my wedding and 2008: three months after Baby A was born), helped me train for the later race and somehow managed to fit my extremely swollen pregnant feet for nine months. Yes, it was definitely time.

So for my birthday (see July is the month of b-days), M bought me a new pair. And that night I christened my shoes with a four-mile round trip walk to UCLA’s Drake Stadium where I ran the blechers.

Brand New Shoes!