Happy Fall

Not to rush the seasons, but when I hear Septemeber, I think fall. Yes, I know we have until the end of the month until summer is “technically” over, but wake up! It is now dark out at 8, CVS is selling Halloween candy, and pumpkin beers are in full swing. It’s fall. Fall has classically been my favorite season- I’m a typical New Yorker so I will tell you that “I love that we have our seasons.” The vibrant autumnal colors and knee high boots get me every time- what can I say, I’m basic.

What makes this time of the year even better, you ask? Running.

A true runner can run in any condition, right? Well, I can’t. 

I get dizzy when it’s too hot.

I get a pounding ache in my ears when it’s too cold.

If it’s too bright outside, I feel blinded and miserable.

Essentially, I am goldilocks and I’m looking for my perfect conditions. The perfect conditions are September. Is there anything sweeter than a warm September air with a cool fall breeze? And for that reason, I love a nighttime run in the fall- not too hot, not too cold… it’s just right. So that’s what I did- called a bestie and went for a nice, slow paced, 2 mile run on a toasty fall night.

So happy fall, and happy running!

That time John did Bikram

I love, love, love having a friend by my side for a workout. I don’t know what the scientific reason for this is…OK, well, I just googled this and there are many reasons, but whatevs, I love it. Having a friend by your side is immediate camaraderie and emotional support. In fact, when I began going to yoga in 2013, Jess was right by my side throughout it all. When I started to run, John jumped on board and started running too. The sad thing is, I struggle to get Jess to run and John to do yoga. One of the few times Jess did a 5k with me she damaged her foot and struggled to walk comfortably on it for some time. John just hates the idea of yoga entirely.

I want to accept that not everyone I adore has to adore the things I adore, but, why not?!

Well, I’m proud to say that I got my fiance to come to a Bikram class. I think in part because I didn’t bully him like I normally would to get my way. Instead, I was casual about it- at least that’s how I remember it going down, though it is possible that there were threats involved. I do not recall. I do recall telling him the following things:

  1. It is the worst heat you will ever experience.
  2. You can watch the sweat form on your body as it’s happening.
  3. The smell. The smell is like a garbage can and a diaper had a baby with a foot.
  4. It’s physical torture and you might faint.

His initial thoughts? Wait, why am I doing this again? And so naturally I explained my inclination to want to give him the worst possible aspects of Bikram yoga so that there are zero surprises or expectations. Actually, your expectations are now so horrible that you might be pleasantly surprised by what you do experience during class. Somehow, he still wanted to come.

As soon as we got to the studio I saw a few men pass us by so I leaned over to John, oh so casually, and said, “hey babe, look, guys are here. Something I love about yoga is that people of all ages, races, genders, shapes and sizes come together to practice.”

He shot me a glance like, you have to be joking, and said “yeah, I don’t care- it’s not a big deal.”

Alrighty then, buckaroo. 

In some ways this was the best class ever, and in some ways in was the worst class.

Best class? I had Jess and John both with me on my halfway through my thirty day challenge day. It just felt like emotional support overload (yeah, yeah, Jess had to be there because she is doing it too, but it was still exciting). I also loved that I could share my practice with the person I’m spending my life with and that he was willing to give it a shot for me.

Worst class? I sat on my mat in terror envisioning worst case scenario- because that’s what I do. I imaged him getting up and leaving, throwing up on the mat, shooting death stares my way, the list goes on. Because I was so concerned he was miserable during class, I found myself falling out of everything. It didn’t help that I was perpetually checking on him to make sure he was breathing and doing alright. Or trying to catch his eye to give him a “hang in there, champ!” sort of smile.

What I really needed to do was focus on myself because- he did everything. Was he drenched in sweat? Hot? Tired? Yes. Yes. and Yes. But so is everyone at the end of class. We walked out and he said, “that was fine. It’s not my thing, but it was cool.”

And that is the end of my fifteenth day.

Moral of the story: Worry about yourself. Everyone will be alright on their own.

Wanderlust Festival

wan·der·lust
ˈwändərˌləst/
noun
a strong desire to travel.
“a man consumed by wanderlust”

On Saturday, September 13, Jess and I packed up our yoga mats and headed out to board a train to Brooklyn’s Wanderlust Festival.

Wanderlust 108 is a mindful triathlon, combining a 5k run, an inspirational meditation, and a massive outdoor yoga class.
Gather your friends for a day of live music, mindful movement, healthy food, retro yard games and a few surprises.

– See more at: http://brooklyn.wanderlustfestival.com/about-wanderlust-108#sthash.ekzRxGIv.dpuf

Tickets ranged from FREE if you skipped the 5k and the gift bag to $40 to have the full experience to $80 if you forgot to sign up when you were supposed to… like I did. Yep, I waited until the last minute again so I signed up for a free ticket the night before and figured I could still enjoy my day in Brooklyn.

The morning of did not start out as intended as I realized, while passing our stop, that we passed our stop. Deep yogi breath, please. Grant me the serenity to not go ham on a stranger. One hour out of our way later and we stepped into a new world, one with brownstones and trees lining the streets- Toto, we weren’t in the south shore of Long Island anymore. Follow the yellow brick road, just kidding, follow the lulu lemon gear.

When we arrived at the pearly black gates of prospect park we were amazed to find that Brooklyn is actually much nicer than we anticipated. People from Long Island rarely go OTB (over the bridge) so it was a nice change of scenery. Though I had my sneakers in my backpack I figured I would skip the run and wander around the shops by myself until Jess was done. She would have none of that…Needless to say I found myself running next to Jess for the 5k. Can’t keep me down!

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Though she’s not a runner herself she’s a bikram regular and a yoga instructor- girls got strength both mentally and physically. Though she says she felt muscles she never feels in yoga and that she was sore, I don’t buy it. She rocked the run and then we meandered around yuppies, and puppies, and people dancing with hoola hoops for a few hours.

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The best thing about festivals… Ok, maybe not for you, but I love free stuff. I can’t help it- you are going to give me headphones that say Kashi on the side of them, I’m going to take it. You want me to try your new flavor of Zico , fine. You want me to eat you densely packed protein Greek frozen yogurt, no prob, bob. I will take this off of your hands. We even waited in line for over one hour for a free yoga towel for your mat from Manduka. All we had to do was SMILE:

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And lose an hour of our lives… But that’s neither here nor there.

Then the time came for yoga. And the sky opened up. A light drizzle. Continued light drizzle. Slipping on my mat. A densely packed drizzle… Now it’s just rain. And we continued to practice.

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A new bucket list item: practice yoga in the rain. Check. And yes it was a nice life experience, especially dancing in the rain afterwards, but let’s not be cutesy for a second- it was cold! The park cleared out faster than a college party after they kick the keg. Back to the train… This time the right one.

As we headed home, shivering, we were smiling and exhausted. It was a great day. Making your practice, whether it’s running, yoga, whatever, a part of your social life makes it an even better experience. Find something that brings you joy in life and figure out how to never stop loving it.

As heard on the boardwalk:

How many miles is it?
Slightly over 4.
Wow- I could never do that.

I’m a people watcher, listener, observer… Creeper? Ok, maybe not a creeper- but I do take it all in. How else am I going to pass the time on a run? Listen to music for 40 minutes? Psssshhhhh.

I’m sure I’ve had that exact conversation in my life- whenever anyone even mentioned running in my presence I would scoff as though they were telling me about quantum physics (which I do not understand- just to be clear…)

Because I’ve been so out of touch in the blogosphere, I should be real with you all about my running. I’m still doing it! Woo! John is too! Double woo! And can I tell you guys… He has lost nearly 40lbs… Yes, that’s right… 4-0 el bees. I can’t say the same for myself but my running journey was never correlated directly with weight loss. If it happened, cool, if not… Hey why is he losing all of this weight and I’m not?! I kid (somewhat…) my running dreams were geared towards pushing myself and find something to be proud of. And I have done that- mission accomplished on both of our ends.

What I’m trying to say is running is the shit. A curse felt right there.

On the other hand- now that I’ve done a few races, I’ve gotten lazier. I have not been on missions to train. I have definitely not gotten my ass up early or off the couch late to go to the gym. Quite frankly, I’m doing baby runs as I call them- 2-3 milers. And last year I would have called that an awe-inspiring super human task but these days I call it being blasé.

Today I needed a change of pace- I am bored!

3.5 miles
Ran half straight
Other half sprinted at every beach entrance followed by 20 standing push-ups on the railing with 20 sit-ups.

52 miles per month- I set my intention, a goal, something to work towards. What’s a goal if it’s something that takes no effort? At the end of the day did I work for it? I’m going to have to set some new intentions- or what am I doing here?

How do you beat workout boredom?

Today was supposed to Suck

Getting out of bed can sometimes feel inconceivable on a Thursday morning. Maybe it’s because it’s almost Friday. Maybe it’s because the workdays are long this time of the year. Maybe it’s because it is exceptionally bitter out and it seems to be dark every time I’m outside. It’s just difficult to get out of bed.

I hit the snooze five times.

.

.

.

.

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The coffee pot turns on automatically as it does every day at 6. Why is it that I wake up so easily on Saturday when I want to sleep in yet so difficult when I can’t? I ponder this for a little while until I realize I need to be at work in an hour.

I hobble over snow and slip because my city hates cleaning streets. I mutter curses under my breath- at everyone. I’m tired and grouchy.

I make it on time because I’m a time nazi and ten minutes early might as well be late. I realize my phone is missing and assume that it’s in my car, lost in the parking lot, or simply missing. I take a seat at my desk and hope for the best.

At breakfast I cut myself with a knife while cutting a bagel. I learn from my work mom, Laura, that most people cut themselves on Sunday mornings. I defy the odds- typical. The bleeding isn’t bad so I wash my hands, the knife, and get a band aide. I make sure to finish putting cream cheese on my bagel. This moment is embarrassing because someone I work with chooses to use the knife I did not cut myself with and actually asks which one jabbed me. I walk back to my desk feeling like a pariah.

At lunch I spill soup on my lap. It doesn’t stain so I’m happy. I’m convinced today is just one of “those days.”

When I got home I was determined to go to the gym but felt it could only be possible after an episode of Millionaire Matchmaker- to make me feel better about my life today. Bravo always makes me feel better about myself.

I hopped on a treadmill and the tv didn’t work, of course not, so I blasted my music. And every single song was meant to be. Angry. Old school, west coast rap. Slightly Stoopid and Sublime to cool me down. Faster. Run hard when it’s hard to run.

And I ran my fastest time for a 5k. And now I know my day that was supposed to suck didn’t suck at all.

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Go Home Excuses, You’re Drunk

Woke up and the roads were saying “don’t drive on me” so work was canceled. I was up, dressed, makeup ready, but what was I doing? Nothing. John and I decided to face the truest test- if you can make it to the gym in the snow, you can make it anytime. We passed our self inflicted test and headed out to the gym. This is particularly important to me because February is the official start of half marathon training. I began my Monday morning with a 5k in 28 minutes. I felt fabulous and powerful so I did 200 twist crunches with a medicine ball. At that point the sky was the limit so I did what anyone would do- I decided I earned the right to lay around all day.

Then I realized something pretty profound- it’s only snow and I live on a beach. It became mandatory that I suit up in my warmest gear and head down to the sand.

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Remember that time, yesterday, when it was 50 outside and I was swimming in the ocean?! This is living. It’s days like today that I’m reminded that my disease does not define me, it does not control me, it’s just a part of me. I remember questioning if I would ever be able to enjoy my life following my diagnosis- the answer is an unequivocal yes.

That Time I had Acid Reflux

This past week I have felt like a true lupus girl- sick. Constantly. As soon as I begin to feel better the cycle of weakness began again. This week consisted of attempts to workout and now that I’m reflecting on the week, the result aren’t too bad, but none of it was my best.

Monday: an excellent yoga class.

Tuesday: a horrific run- I could only do 2 miles and it was HELL!

Wednesday: 8:15 yoga class that was bittersweet. I did a semi-acceptable crow but felt mediocre throughout class.

Thursday: In bed by 7:30 p.m. contemplating calling out of work.

Friday: woke up and felt better. Work was a go. Gym when I got home and I did a 5K in 29 minutes. Not my best time, definitely not my worst time.

So what’s going on immune system? You scallywag! After being convinced through self diagnosis that I have acid reflux (pretty sure I totally made that one up in my head) I decided to cut out all things associated with it. No more red sauce, goodbye Frank’s Red Hot my one true love, sayonara beer my other one true love. I did take up popping tums like candy- why aren’t tums candy?

By Wednesday I eliminated coffee from my breakfast. Webmd told me it was a good idea due to my probably fictional case of heartburn- Hello… I have a shirt… with a gun… that says MAKE ME COFFEE. And sometimes I think I actually have that kind of relationship with my coffee- highly aggressive. By 12:00 p.m. I was light sensitive, mean, and I had a pounding headache. Hey, webmd said nothing about these symptoms with acid reflux. It turns out that I’m just a coffee addict with a cold, and the symptoms I was going through more closely resemble withdrawal. One IV injected into my veins cup later and I was once again human.

And on that note, I will leave you with a wise a quote I frequently sang in 1997:

I get knocked down, but I get up again, you’re never gonna keep me down…pissing the night away –Chumbawamba

Baby’s First Half

When you were born your parents may have made a little book with your name on it- this is most often true for the oldest child and generally fades out the more children there are per family. Sorry Sean. This book was probably adorable and adorably decorated in pastel images of zoo animals, or Winnie the Pooh, or some other cutesy baby stuff. With every thing you did your parents would jot down in excitement – Ashley’s first word – gaga. We have a diva on our hands. That’s how I feel about this blog. Pastel colors and all. This is my book of milestones.

In this blog I have documented countless hours of my life. I have posted pictures of my dirty gym clothes, glorious sunsets, my friends, and my family. In my first blog post I confessed to crying on a boardwalk by myself after finishing my first run, overcome with emotion- this is my life now. I documented in fear my first 5k and I questioned if I would be able to do it and I was truly concerned that maybe I could not. I wrote about my first 4 mile run. My first 5 mile run. Now I’m going to tell you I did it again yesterday- my second time in a row doing five miles. And maybe I will look back on this post and I will laugh at these milestones, but we definitely don’t laugh at a baby’s first time lifting their head, or sitting up, or crawling, and standing up, to walking, to running, to holy crap we need to lock everything up in this house. We all start somewhere. I started as a fatigued, sick, swollen, depressed 25 year old trying to figure out what my next step was- Do I continue living like this or do I make the necessary changes to live a healthy life?

My path to rediscovery began in May. Today I officially registered for my first half marathon.

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What I didn’t realize when I first agreed to this race was that it was one year from the point that I turned my life around. Words cannot express how meaningful this race is to me. And just like my first 5k, I have that apprehensive and terrified feeling, but now I feel empowered with the knowledge that I have set my mind towards many obstacles this year and I accomplished goals that I didn’t know I even had for myself.

In May of 2013 I struggled to walk, in May of 2014 I will run a half marathon.

Getting in the Spirit

We all get it, you’ve been sick. Well, I’m better loves!

Yesterday I put in a challenging 5k at the gym and then busted out some ab work, and I felt right where I was supposed to be. But holy difference after not working out for a little while. This makes total sense as to why every time I quit the gym thing I’m straight back to apathy and hating the gym. Not this time.

This morning I woke up in the Christmas spirit, for a Jew, and I went to a yoga class with a truly phenomenal instructor. I knew it would be necessary with the running around and the stress leading up to a day that is seemingly non-stressful. We can all laugh at that statement, right? The class was packed, mat to mat, and I’ve never been in a tighter space in a yoga class before, but as we spoke about the season and coming together it became yoga family time.

Wonderful! Breathing capabilities restored.

So, from one Jew to all of you, merry Christmas. Find your place of peace. Do whatever you have to do to get there, because yes, this time of the year is amazeballs, but it is really stressful!

Much love,

Talia