I was packing up for my month at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health and decided to keep pulling the yoga books from my bookshelf.
While I haven’t practiced consistently over time, it’s been about 8 years since my first yoga class and maybe 3-4 years since I purchased several teacher training books. The fact that I’m leaving today – October 2015 – for one of the most incredible yoga institutes in the world is not lost on me!
Most of these books aren’t teacher related at all – just nice reads, both fiction and nonfiction, that tell the stories of yoga and meditation in one’s life. There are maybe four others on my Kindle.
You can browse the titles here, but the one book I thought I’d mention is How Yoga Works, by Michael Roach. If you or a loved one need a great novel-type story to help you understand the WHY of all this yoga we do, this book wraps it all up in a very digestible form! It’s about a young girl imprisoned in India and how she wins over the love and respect of those around her. Nothing foofy, just a story. Thanks to Liz for passing along this recommendation on a tiny plane in Nicaragua this February!
Tell me! What are your favorite books or resources on yoga? Please share in the comments below or on Facebook so all can enjoy!
Hey-yo! How’s your October shaping up?
I’m incredibly jealous of all the beautiful fall racing going on out there! Wish I had signed up for at least one medal-earning jaunt this season! Here’s a little summary of where I’ve been…
August: I had been working in the office for 3+ months, and the Falmouth Road Race was finally here! It was a fantastic opportunity and fantastic group of people to be part of, but within just one week of the event, I was practically nauseous with stress about my full-time job and livelihood of photography. I was quickly immersed in my busiest time of the year…
September: THE busiest time of my year for photography. Shooting, shooting, shooting and barely finding time to edit the photos. We had two weeks of house guests coming and going (amazing house guests, of course!). All the while, I was still making time for about two runs per week – topping out at 6 miles with my friend Carrie as she trained for her first half marathon! I also spontaneously started the Whole 30 Challenge!
October: Immediately feeling relief that my in-season weddings were now done, only in the sense that I would now have an additional day of editing time at the computer each week. Soooo much to edit. But it has helped me to let up a bit and still make time for hikes, the long routes home, sitting on the couch with my husband (who I hardly see in summer)… I leave for a month of yoga teacher training in ONE WEEK, though, so the pressure is still on to close things up. I have been making sure to prioritize yoga over running right now as well, because I’m a little nervous to begin my program! Mentally, some big changes!
- I’m outsourcing my wedding edits, after a bit of analysis on the things I could be doing with that time. It’s worth the financial and time investment of “training” my new team for my style – and so far it’s been great!
- We’re outsourcing dog care as well! Cajun just went to his first day of doggy daycare and did great! We’re excited to have some help on keeping him tired, socialized and entertained – as well as a familiar place to go when we need weekend care. Phew!
- I’ve begun interviewing to return to corporate life in Boston! I quit my career path in 2012 to pursue photography full-time, and I will never regret that incredible opportunity and experience of owning my own business! In fact, I will continue to shoot about five weddings per year. But being the boss is quite hard too, and more importantly, there’s something I truly miss about working among the world’s most influential brands. Interviews so far have gotten me even more excited!
So that’s the QUICK version… but I’m ready to really dedicate some time back to this blog, particularly while I’m at YTT. I will certainly come back and expand on things like the Whole 30, working for the Falmouth Road Race, and more!
In the meantime, I’m also back on social media duty for the upcoming Cape Cod Marathon, Relay & Half this month! See you out there!
We are fresh off a hike of Mount Katahdin! Located in Maine’s Baxter State Park, this 5270ish-foot peak (the surveyors can’t decide) is an absolutely incredible, intriguing and beautiful BEAST. The highest peak in Maine and the northern terminus of the Appalachian Trail, Katahdin is the longest hike I’ve ever completed in one day – 12 hours, 13 miles.
10 of us drove all day on Sunday to reach our campsites at Katahdin Streams Campground. Half of us friends, half of us having never met before. Cell phone reception disappeared the minute we entered Baxter State Park, and I think we were all feeling pretty psyched about that. Once together, the fun of camping life commenced – pitching our tents, playing with fire, eating Cheese-Its in the wild…! There were some rumors that the group wanted to attempt the Knife Edge trail on Katahdin, and I made the mistake of watching some YouTube videos the night before. Eeek! My eyes were watering as I watched that one, but as we chatted around the campfire together Sunday evening, I got myself more and more mentally prepared.
We left the campsite at 5:15am and drove about 45 minutes to the start of our trail. We set off! The first few miles were fairly chill with excellent views to stop at, sweet little bridges over the brooks, and nothing too strenuous that we couldn’t all chat. This brought us to the Chimney Pond Ranger Station and a massive amount of wind blowing across the open land! It was immediately apparent that we would NOT be hiking the Knife Edge after all. It’s sheer cliffs off either side of a sometimes 3-foot ridge would be too dangerous in those conditions. After a quick chat with Ranger Bill, we decided to head out on Hamlin Ridge Trail up to Hamlin Peak, Saddle Trail over to Baxter Peak (the highest), and back down Saddle Trail to Chimney Pond for our descent. Looping around through Hamlin was going to add a bit of time to our day, but we kept hearing it would be totally beautiful as well – and it was incredible!!
The group began to separate out into two groups from there, and after Hamlin Peak we were five and five. Safety in numbers! The conditions were howling and foggy – unfortunately not too many views to be had. The rocks on Hamlin were quite slippery, and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t think about my knee/ACL approximately 3 times per minute.
We ate our PB&J and snacks, and began the traverse over to Baxter Peak. After a slight wrong turn, we found ourselves climbing directly upwards on Cathedral Trail for about a half mile to the peak. I mean clinging from rock to rock, pushing off sideways from a rock while NOT looking at the cliff to my other side, etc. In the end, I used my arms so much on this 12 hour day that my feet and legs weren’t nearly as achy as a typical hike might be. Anyway, we made it to the peak! What a huge accomplishment we felt! Again, we couldn’t see too far around us and we were soaked from the fog, but reaching the very end of the Appalachian Trail was damn cool!
Saddle Trail took us back down the whole way to Chimney Pond, but I’d suggest a name change to something like “Slide for your Life” Trail. It was straight down, loose rock that had obviously suffered a major landslide restructuring by the mountain itself only a short time before. Wheeeee! (you can’t tell from the photo, but most of this trail is accessible by bum only)
Even still, as I speak of the treacherous trails and weather up on the mountain, perhaps nothing felt quite as painful as the final 3 miles from Chimney Pond to the parking lot. Miles 10-13 for the day, hours 10-12, and I spent most of this time sharing the misery and hallucinations with Daunielle. We kept saying “that wasn’t there before!”, and “this isn’t looking familiar”… and we both locked in on a hut and parking lot that really resulted in just another little bridge across the brook, and more than a mile still to go. I had been staring at “stay on trail” signs all day, but all I really wanted to do at this point was walk on the vegetation – the very soft vegetation (don’t worry, I didn’t). Katahdin is nothing if not rocky!
At the base, Lisa was brilliant enough to pack some Gatorade with tequila, and others drank their Baxter Brewing Co. beers! We eventually made our way back to the campsite to ready a warm fire for the rest of our friends. We may have been tired for our evening celebration, but brunch the next morning was epic!
I’m left with such an intense love for Baxter State Park – how could this “only” be a State Park? Gary fished along the river on Tuesday before our departure home, and the trek brought us even further into the woods. There is endless recreation to be had along the way, with ponds, rivers, trails, picnic areas and rustic campgrounds. All while the ridge line of Katahdin towers in the distance. I can’t wait to go back!
I’m INCREDIBLY excited for the fall season ahead! Not to get too far ahead of ourselves with this beautiful summer we’re having, but sometimes those of us living in tourist destinations are simply too busy to really enjoy the same season ya’ll are enjoying. I mean, I’m enjoying it and loving where I live, but September and October are really where it’s at for the locals! Wedding photography season slows down for me, parking spots become available again, and the sun and ocean are still plenty warm enough to enjoy!
In particular, this fall I will be attending a 26-day intensive Yoga Teacher Training at the Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in the Berkshires of Massachusetts!
My friend Danielle got met to my first yoga class (and I think it was hot yoga, my fav!) about seven years ago. I cried, because that’s just how me and yoga roll. I’ve been casually practicing yoga every off-season since, but about two years ago it really started seeping into my bones. I explored the idea of teacher training and even purchased all the books, figuring that I really just wanted to deepen my own practice rather than teach others. But I only glanced at the books and my running and marathoning really took off around the same time. If I was doing something physical, it was running! Fast forward through knee surgery and four months on the couch when I really started thinking more consciously about my body, all while an incredible new studio was opening up 10 minutes from home. Finally, a warm, dark, beautiful space – Innerglow Yoga in Mashpee Commons – as a bit of contrast to the bright yellow or blue, sunshine-filled studios I’d had access to before. Innerglow and owner Michelle were exactly what I needed to move my practice further.
Run club friends were a great motivator to get into the studio last spring while I was still so worried about my knee, and they shared great experiences at Kripalu as well. I decided to check it out for a vinyasa flow weekend with Coby Kozlowski early this year. If you click that link, you’ll see I had some mixed feelings while staying at Kripalu, but I was completely moved by my teacher Coby and the beautifully small group of people in my program. I haven’t been able to shake the feeling that this is my time and my person with whom to go forward into the next step of yoga teacher training.
And then – THEN – Gary and I spent a week on a teeny tiny island in Nicaragua with a yoga studio 30 feet from the door of our bungalow. Little Corn Island changed our perspectives forever; our ideas about how we’re living life. I have so much I could and should write about that little place, but I think I will always consider it a turning point in this middle age of our lives.
Still, teacher training programs are a few thousand bucks, and it’s not my full-time career and livelihood. Plus, who did I think I was, leaving home for a month to some hippie commune in the country? But Gary has been incredibly supportive – probably because this is one of the first times I’ve thought so much about something before actually buying it ;-) And you may not have been following along far enough to know that I do often go away alone somewhere for a month at a time in the off-season. It’s maybe not that ridiculous of an idea, right? So I applied to this prestigious, international yoga institution… and a few weeks later I was accepted. GASP!!
Stay tuned for more as adventures unfold! I’ll always be Cape Cod Runner, but I can think of no better compliment to the sport. I can’t wait to get started!
Do you love yoga? How has it helped your running? Any tips as I embark on YTT?
I keep putting off a recap of the Vermont City Marathon – not because it wasn’t a beautiful, fantastic weekend – but because I essentially wanted to keep running right on past it and not look back. Five months of tiring training, long miles, freezing temperatures… it’s now all finally behind me (plus a couple months more now). I’ve run only once or twice a week since Vermont.
It was so fun to arrive in our college town of Burlington, Vermont (me more specifically in Colchester), ready to run among old, familiar sites. We stayed with great friends in Colchester and arrived just in time for some incredible homemade pizzas on Friday evening. Gary and I met up with my parents on expo morning – they were so sweet to come up in their RV for the weekend’s events! I jumped right to my favorite local-Vermont vendor Skida, checked out the hiking boots from my pals at Hoka, and sipped performance-worthy maple syrup from the folks at Untapped of Vermont. What I was supper impressed with was the awesome branded gear from the Vermont City Marathon itself! Fresh and modern!
Saturday afternoon, I had shouted out on Instagram to meet up with friends at The Farmhouse Tap & Grill. Black bean burger, fries and bourbon – may not have been the smartest pre-race meal I’ve ever eaten. There weren’t a lot of carbs on the menu! Gah! It was so great to hang with Jill and her family, fiiiiiinally meet Jen who I run every single race with apparently, and of course to chill with our buds Dave & Leslie too.
On race morning, Jill and I found each other immediately. We waited in line for the porta-potties with just enough time for the announcer to suggest we all get into our corrals! We were off, and I still felt no stress at all about this race. I had no expectations of the next 26.2 miles.
It was a great 10 miles – the best! I knew just where to find my support crew and absolutely loved having them. Vermont City is like a four-leaf clover where the runners head out four times and come back through downtown Burlington. Spectators are golden, walking only a couple of blocks at most, and viewing from the outdoor seating of any number of bars and restaurants. But for the same reason, each stretch out of town was pretty lonely and quiet. I was clocking a 9:10 pace and hoping this *might* be me sliding into home for a sub-4 hour marathon.
Only problem was that a marathon isn’t just 10 miles. When I realized that’s where I was, and that I had ONLY gone 10 miles, shit hit the fan. I was done with this whole running thing. I spiraled like a deflated balloon into half walking and often more than half walking. There’s not much more I can say about it. I was miserable, the sun was sweltering, and the frozen ice pops may have been the only thing keeping me on my feet. I continued to check all the necessary boxes and just get myself to the finish, but I think my final time was somewhere around 4:37 (about a half hour slower than anticipated).
Still….. YAY! I ran my third marathon!! I’m still really truly stoked about that! It feels good. And I will do more! (currently in the lottery for Big Sur, whaaaat?)
Thank you shouts to the Falmouth Track Club and my incredible friends at Hoka One One! Thank you SO much to my friends and family who were out there on such a beautiful (for you guys anyway ;-)) day! And lastly, thanks to the Vermont City Marathon and everyone at RunVermont.org for sharing your wonderful community with all of us!
Oh hey there… long time no see! I know it’s been quite a while since I’ve posted, and it’s also been a hefty amount of time since I’ve regularly been running. I mean, I’ve regularly been running ONCE a week, so that’s something, right?
I will come back with a recap of the Vermont City Marathon, particularly since I’ve already written it. It was a beautiful day and course! But you already know I trained for three races over 20-26 miles in distance this winter, and at Mile 10 of this final marathon I officially felt like I just couldn’t run any longer. I finished the marathon, but with a lot of walking. I kept walking right off the course and into a lovely June off my feet and out of my Hokas. It’s funny writing this now, because I feel like I’ve taken three months off running, but the truth is it’s only been five weeks?!! I’ve been running with run club on Tuesdays and usually another small run each week as well. This past weekend, Gary and I disappeared into the trails and it felt better than ever! It’s nice to run when I want, how far I want, and to pick and choose the right weather conditions after a rather grueling winter training season.I’m ready to run though. It’s time to get going! Incidentally, it’s also about 18 weeks until marathon season……
What are your plans, goals and hopes for summer running this year?
It’s been a little crazy around here as I started working in the Falmouth Road Race offices while simultaneously kicking off the busy beginnings of wedding season in my photography business! Not to mention it’s now finally OUTDOOR weather and increasingly hard to buckle down at a computer. Knowwhatimean?
But there’s another biggie coming up this weekend – the Vermont City Marathon! My lack of blogging incidentally matches my lack of stress for this marathon. Everyone I bump into this week is asking “are you ready?” and I’m like “ready for what?” Oh RIGHT… a marathon. Well yes, I am ready. I’m ready to let loose and have a great time! I’ve done all the required tapering, building and tapering again after Boston, and any minute I’ll begin that nasty diet of white rice and over-hydration again.
It’s no secret that I’m mentally done with running. It’s probably not the best mental state to go in to a marathon with. I will never plan three races of over 20-mile distances in a span of 4 months again, that’s for sure. But it’s leaving me within nothing left in the Vermont tank other than to HAVE FUN!
I may run 11 minute miles. I may stop for selfies with my friends. I may even walk through a water stop or two. It’s gonna be WILD!At one of our top favorite races each year, the Glenna Kohl Fund for Hope “Piggy Trot” 3.7-miler in Osterville!
What I hear is just how incredible the Vermont fans are in Burlington, and I’m excited my parents and friends will be making the trip! Gary and I went to school in the area (UVM and St. Mike’s), and we’re looking forward to spending the weekend with friends – outside of those four hours on Sunday when I’ll be sweating in 74-degree cloudiness.
With so many of our Instagram friends in town too, come join us at 2pm on Saturday at The Farmhouse Tap & Grill!
See you on the other side!
The more I’m supposed to be running, the more I’m obsessed with yoga. There are four weekends between my spring marathons right now, and I spent one of those at the Yoga Reaches Out yogathon and the next at one of the world’s most respected yoga and wellness retreats, Kripalu.
Yeah yeah yeah, I’m running my miles. Hal Higdon just so happens to have a 4-week marathon-to-marathon training plan just for me!
I’m going to focus this post specifically on Kripalu, because I’ve had so many people tell me they’ve been dying to go, wondering what it’s like, and asking for a debrief on the program I chose. We Massholes are so very lucky to have Kripalu close, nestled in our hilly, western-most region called “the Berkshires” (we lead you to believe the Berkshires are mountains, buuuuut… it’s really just a hilly area full of nature, music, stone walls, antique shops, and of course, yoga!).
In the weeks leading up to my program, several friends toyed with joining me. In the end, I’m actually truly grateful for going alone. It’s just that kind of place and experience where you can really turn inward if you allow it! Kripalu had just been closed for a month of campus renovations, so there was a fun buzz of activity when I arrived for check-in on Friday afternoon. I chose to stay in the dormitory offering, in a room with four women who were attending other programs that weekend. After a quick unpacking, I made it to the open-invite 4:15pm moderate yoga class with Jurian, dinner, and then the start of my program at 7pm.
My program: Vinyasa Flow: Flowing Through the Elements, with Coby Kozlowski – a mix of philosophy, asanas and Coby’s fantastic storytelling and sarcasm! The programs are all different, so I won’t go into too much in that regard. I think I picked the perfect one for me right now, but you should browse the calendar sometime and see what fits for you!
What I think you’d be more interested in are things like Kripalu’s silent breakfast. Yep, no talking, every day. The center focuses on “mindful eating” and reminds you to truly see, smell and savor the food on your plate – and the people who made it for you. The cafeteria and food have an incredible reputation, and rightfully so! To be honest, not having the pressure of talking to strangers in the morning is pretty awesome. Not having access to coffee though? Up for debate (you can buy some in the cafe on premises). If you want a little tip, I saw two more experienced women who brought their own French press along! For other meals, talking and meeting new people is encouraged.
There are open-invite yoga classes several times a day, and each day at noon is a yoga dance class. This is particularly epic on Saturdays when the live drummers join in! You gotta do it at least once, though I definitely felt like I was at a Phish show (not my thing). In addition, there are several hiking trails and guided walks, and a lakefront beach for more summertime activities. Saturday nights usually include some form of live music or a speaker.
They say the intense energy within the building can affect everyone. You can’t sleep, or you can’t stay awake. While in the between periods of my morning and afternoon program sessions, I admittedly was in a bit of a funk. Almost a negative feeling, I think I was just overcome with the physical and mental twinges of the “work” we were doing. I absolutely loved it all – the movement, stories and philosophy – and I adored our teacher Coby, but when we closed on Sunday midday I gave her a very bland hug good bye. I grabbed my packed bags from my room, put them in the car, contemplated going for my long run, and eventually just walked back inside for a little lunch before hitting the road.
I’m so grateful for what happened next! One of my program-mates saw me about to sit down and said “hey, a few of us are sitting outside!” I figured, heck, I’d barely been out in the fresh air all weekend and the sun was finally warming up – so I grabbed my tray and followed her like a scene outta high school ;-) We found our way to a table of 6-8 women, including our teacher Coby and her assistant Julia! My somber, introspective mood immediately started to lighten.
The women ate and departed for home, but Coby, Julia and I continued to sit for over an hour more in the warm breeze. Just chatting life in general, mutual connections, next moves… and when I finally left I knew I had made a most excellent new friend in Coby. The entire weekend was capped off in a beautiful way!
I drove the three hours home that afternoon feeling full of presence and warmth, and glancing over at my fresh new copy of The Radiance Sutras, by Lorin Roche. It was an “interesting” place and weekend overall, but I’m pretty sure I’ll find myself back in those hills.
Yup, today was officially the first day of a whole new marathon training cycle! one week after the Boston Marathon, and just four weeks before the Vermont City Marathon! Lucky for me, that means it’s not too far till taper time too ;-) Did someone say carbo-load?
I didn’t originally plan to run two back-to-back marathons, and honestly it makes me sound like way more of a rockstar than I really am! I’ve been planning on running Vermont since deferring after ACL surgery last spring, and I snuck Boston in there just because I couldn’t possibly say no to a bib number. In a way, I think some of my lack of emotion about Boston is because Vermont has solidly been my “comeback race”. It means so much to me to have come full circle and achieve my goal! Last year at this time, after several months in the pool, I was only learning how to run on solid ground again. I was gifted Vermont City Marathon gear for Christmas 2013, and have worn my “In Training” shirt since registering in November 2013. Needless to say, there has definitely been some mental and a whole lotta physical build up!
Me on the couch, rockin’ optimistic t-shirts.
But of course… I did run a marathon a week ago. Goal achieved? Well oddly enough, I’m tearing up just writing THIS post. So I now firmly believe that Vermont is the destination for me. Bring the tissues! (or if you truly know me, just stand clear of the snot rockets).
I’m actually on crutches in this photo, rockin’ the Vermont City Marathon 2014 winter jacket!
I’m pretty excited for Vermont over Memorial Day weekend! I think a 3,000-person race is MUCH more my style than a 30,000-person race, and my family and close friends will all be among the incredible fans who are rumored to boost this race to the nines! I’d be remiss if I didn’t also mention my hopes for [keyword] sunshine and cool breezes as we celebrate at the post-race festival! It couldn’t rain again, could it??
Tell me your thoughts about bigger-vs-smaller races! Do you thrive among thousands of other runners and the huge expo-style festivities? Or are you happier to park your own car at the start/finish and experience a small-town feel? I’ve now run 26.2 with 800 people and 30,000 people, and I have a hunch Vermont’s 3,000 will be juuuuuust right.
That was that – my first Boston Marathon!!!
It was a long day, a wet day, a loud day, an exciting day, and a day I will certainly never forget!!
On the bus with all the Cape Codders, namely Nicole from In Motion Training!
I’ll jump right to some honesty here though: I didn’t experience much of that “OMG this is BOSTON” feeling. As we pulled into Hopkinton and later found our corrals, I couldn’t believe I was there. I was with some great new friends and enjoyed the excitement! But for most of those 26.2 miles and even crossing the finish line, I didn’t experience any strong emotions. Was that because I knew the streets so well? Was it because it was pouring rain? Were the crowds as crazy as usual (Wellesley was oddly quiet)? Or was I just plain hurting?
I’m going to take the blame on this because I feel like I meditated through the entire race. I was in a solid zone, sticking to the middle of the road rather than the crowded sidelines. I felt like I was looking inward more than out. It’s not that I didn’t “take in the moment” along the way, but I was certainly zoning (see side stitch below).
While it did rain and it was windy in the final 6 miles, the weather didn’t bother me one bit! I would take that kind of cool temperature for a marathon any day! (though it would have been fun to celebrate outside more on Boylston Street!) I’m so grateful to my husband and many friends for standing out there on the sidelines! Today/Tuesday is mid-70s and so humid in Boston – no thank you!
A year ago I was just stepping back outside for my first runs post ACL surgery, so I’m ecstatic to report that my knee is the one part of my legs not dying after all those downhills, yeeesh! “They” weren’t kidding about the quad burn!
All in all, this wasn’t my strongest race and I wish I felt a little more proud of how I ran. I started dealing with an intense side stitch around Mile 5 that lasted at least until Mile 15, and it prevented me from breathing deep, full breaths. Perhaps this is what put me in a zone, because I had to focus so much on calming my energy. BUT, just like my first and only other marathon in 2013, I’m happy to say that I never stopped running!
- Miles 1-3: SO slow with the crowds! Just no way around it, literally.
- Miles 3-12: These miles were ticking by so fast! How could I be almost half-way done with THE Boston Marathon?
- Miles 13-17: Okay, maybe this isn’t going by THAT fast after all…
- Miles 18-21: Excitement of seeing Gary with our friends at the base of Heartbreak Hill!
- Miles 22-26.2: Toying with sprinting and dragging my feet at the same time. I simultaneously felt great AND knew too much about the distance still to come. I ultimately decided to chill out and enjoy this part – the loudest crowds and excitement in the air!
Official time: 4:27:15
I really do wish it was nice enough to hang around at the finish! It was raining too hard to even take my phone out for a selfie ;-) But of course we found a pub soon after!
I was wide awake at 5am this morning, and psyched to see that my favorite yoga studio was welcoming all runners to a free class today with their Boston Marathon medal! Also, since I’m here to type this now, it means I’m not still stuck on the floor in Savasana!
A HUGE congratulations to all of my peers who rocked the streets of Boston yesterday! We are all part of a greater whole in this “town”, and I’m so very happy I could be part of another chapter within it! More and more, this is hitting me today, after the race…
and thank you for the photos, Bekah and Kyle!