Monthly Archives: June 2011

6/20/11 Kripalu Redeaux

Monday.  I’m back Kripalu for an Ayurvedic Retreat.  Kind of a course in Ayurveda 101 or Ayurveda for Dummies.  Arrived yesterday and already feel like I’m overwhelmed with information. Want to jot down a few things before I forget.  There will be much more over then next five days.

First I just want to say I how much I love being at Kripalu.  I always feel like I have come home to “my people.”  This is my fourth time here and every time I have felt the immediate peace of being up here. So many like-minded folk and so interesting.  I also feel a real directive from the universe here.  Every time I come I meet so many people who are just the right person I need to be talking to.  I can ‘t explain it but I seem to just meet the right people at the right time.

Quick background is I have not been feeling well recently.  Too much work, too much partying, too much stress.  Underneath it all I was starting to crumble and although I was feeling I was putting in effort it was a finger in the dam situation.   A couple of weeks ago I was listening to one of those voices in my head and it was saying I needed to cleanse.  I needed to reboot.  I picked my nieces wedding as the marker.  I would get through the wedding and all the associated stress that goes with that and I would start my own cleanse.  No drinking, no eating out, no overindulging in anything.  That would be my running start to a week at Kripalu where I would really focus on me and feeling better. I’ve been intrigued by Ayruveda for some time but this would be my week to study it and really find out what this Ayruvedic stuff is all about.

Program started last night and I really like the instructor, she is the director of the Ayurvedic Institute here at Kripalu.  (If you want to be an Ayurvedic practioner, Kripalu is where you come.)   In a nutshell Ayurveda is the 5,000 year old health and wellness system.  It is a system of practicing wellness based on some Ayurvedic principles — mostly your Dosha or Type.  Ayurveda is considered the sister science to Yoga.  I don’t want to try to explain to much because I don’t really know and I don’t want to give out bad info.  Let me finish my first class before I declare my expertise.

I ate dinner with two yoga teachers and a cyclist.  Chatterboxes all of us.  (Kripalu is also a yoga school and people come here to get their 200 and 500 hour yoga certifications.  There are A LOT of really super fit people walking around here.)  I already have a reading list a mile long.  “Oh you HAVE to read… blah, blah, blah” comes out of someone’s mouth every five minutes.  After dinner it was off to our first session.  I was so tired but I went anyway.

First thing Hilary Garivaltis (the instructor) said was “I’m not going to teach you anything you don’t already know.”  I laughed as that was what Geneen Roth said at her course.  It’s true.  None of this is new, it’s 5,000 years old for goodness sake.  We all know we should eat slowly, eat healthy foods, be mindful.  But we don’t do it.  We get wrapped up in our crazy world.  Ayurvedia is about some living guidelines to help you do that.  Like Yoga it is a practice.  They have a lot of recipes for what ails you.  Some “rules.”   Not sure how I will do with them but I’m trying.  For example the no snacking between meals “suggestion.”

I’m up at 6 a.m.  We don’t meet for our morning walk to “Observe the Gunas in Nature” (I will find out what a Guna is and report back) until 7 a.m.  I’m supposed to drink one class of room-temperature water and then go for our walk. After our 1 hour morning walk we will have breakfast.  I’m hungry NOW but one other thing she said is in the back of my head “After about 3 days people start to feel what good health feels like.”  I want that feeling so I’m not eating until after our morning Gunafest.

The second thing that Hilary said to us was “You are already perfect. You may just need a few fine tunings in a an area or two.”

She also “Read” our pulses.  I don’t know what that really means but she told me I am a Pitta/Kapha.  I don’t know what that means yet either but stay tuned and I will be documenting my week at Kripalu U.

I’m late for my walk later.


“Yoga is the practice of tolerating the consequences of being yourself.”

Then Bhagavad Gita

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6/16/11 Mont-Tremblingggg

Thursday.  Really?  Already?  Oy.  This week has been flying by.

Played tennis with Marlie on Monday.  She was trying to get me to think about the grass court tournament out at Forest Hills July 18th.  I had to laugh.  Do you know how much tennis I would have to play in the next six weeks to be remotely ready for that?  There is just not enough time to devote to training for a tennis tournament.  Besides the more I thought about it the less I wanted to go back to that head space.  That head space of competing — of worrying about ranking and winning or losing.  I will never be one of those people who says “I don’t care if I win or lose, I just like to play.”  Sorry that’s not me.  I care immensely.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m okay with a good loss on a Tuesday morning at the club,  but if I’m playing an elimination tournament I do not want to be eliminated.  I care.  I know what it takes to get there and I just don’t have it in me right now to put that tennis focus on.   I’m happy with getting my butt kicked on my “Mondays with Marlie.”  Although hitting 20 of them in a row leaves me panting on ground, there is nothing in the world more satisfying that hitting a perfect overhead.

I am aware of a shift in my head space.  I’m starting to hanker for the bigger picture.  The training for something longer.  I really just miss triathlon training because it’s a little of everything.  It’s not just go run every day.  It’s six days a week of a variety of sports and cycle of building and resting.  And of course the camaraderie.   It’s the grail thing.

I signed up yesterday for Ironman Mont-Tremblant in Canada (Quebec).  The race is August 19th, 2012.  That gives me 14 months to get ready for it.  I know 100% I can do this.  I’m looking forward to it.  I’m looking to all of it.  I think I’ve given myself enough of a rest (not a single triathlon since last August and there won’t be another one until Next April.)  I’m ready to move back into my old habits of up at the “Crack of Stupid” and working hard.

I had originally planned to go back to Penticton because that race still lingers with me.  I don’t won’t say haunt me because I really felt my DNF in that race was beyond my control.  I still believe had I not been plagued by bizarre cramps I would have finished that race.  So it’s not like I’m remembering it as if only I had trained harder or if only I had biked faster.  It was out of my control and I hold no ill feelings toward Penticton.  If anything I remember how gorgeous that course was and I do look forward to going back.

But, meanwhile, they announced this new race for 2012 in Quebec.  A mere 8 hour drive (save air fare and bike shipping).   A beautiful little village in Quebec.  Everyone speaks French.  It’s gorgeous.  It’s mountainous so this bike will be very difficult.  But when something is right it is right.  I didn’t spend days deliberating over it.  A couple of friends said they were considering it, I didn’t care whether they signed up or not (they did).    This is the race for me.  Beautiful, destination, hard as heck but it’s calling my name and I can’t wait to go. Check out their website.

So far everything is going well.  I met with my nutritionist again on Tuesday.  We set some more small goals for me. A lot of it having to do with having provisions on hand building the mind/body connection.  I’m trying to be mindful.  I’m trying to take care of me.  So far so good.  We’ll see how it goes.

I leave Saturday after my Galloway run for another week at  Kripalu.  A week of getting my Om Shanti on.  A lot of yoga, a lot of meditating, looking forward to learning more about the Aryuvedic diet and some cooking classes.  This is a radio broadcast on Ayruvedic eating Perfect Weight  this will be a lot of what I’ll be studying next week.  Nothing really new here.  There is nothing new anywhere.  It all comes down to paying attention — whether you are being mindful at Weight Watchers, Dr. Fuhrman, Geneen Roth, whatever you are doing.  It’s about paying attention….  Meditation is paying attention.

I’m hoping to bring a little of the Ayruvedic science to the Ironman. They say nutrition is the 4th discipline of triathlon, maybe meditation should be the 5th.  Tai Chi, Yoga, Ayruveda — Iron Shanti Om.


Meanwhile a couple of people (okay both of you)  have been asking me about starting a meditation practice. I highly recommend the Chopra center 21 day yoga kick start. It’s great because it exposes you to all the different forms of meditation.  Pema Chodron is my go-to gal for all things mindful but I do think this Chopra 21 day meditation program is great to expose you to all the different forms of meditating AND getting you started on a daily habit.  If you actually sign up for them in advance they are free.  If you want to download them later there is a charge.21 day meditation  If you are really cheap, you can contact me and I probably have the audio files and for a the price of a visit with a cup of tea I could be persuaded to part with them.

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6/10/11 In the Middle

Friday.  My apologies to you three for the lack of blog posts.  I’ve been in, and totally aware of, a strange head-space.  Nothing radical to report.  Nothing great, nothing bad, just somewhere in the middle.  Kind of calm, still seeking, searching and trying to work towards something a little better.

Workouts have been… well somewhere in the middle.  Played tennis only twice but I’m getting back into it — time being a huge factor there.  Tennis partners are more than lined up (gracious friends willing to get me back up to speed as soon as I say the word go.)  Both times I played I had a distinct feeling of coming “home.”  I miss tennis.  I miss my tennis friends.  I will cultivate that more.

I’ve been going twice a week to Tai Chi in Bryant Park (Free on Tuesday and Thursday mornings 7:30 to 8:30).  I am currently a little obsessed with it.  I find it absolutely fascinating and I can’t even explain why.  It’s not hard, it’s not easy, it’s somewhere in the middle.  I keep thinking I will NEVER learn the entire Short Form but then every week I find my self stumbling upon another posture in the routine that I recognize.  Of course I have bought books and am trying furiously to memorize all the postures and the order of the forms but that’s all silly because just getting out there and doing it is the important part.

Sometimes I think I’m not going to go, it’s so basic I should be doing more advanced stuff.    All of my friends sweat and cry over Cross Fit and AS1 workouts and I’m standing in Bryant Park  performing hari kari moves on myself and yelling Hing, Har.  It’s not hard, but when I’m done I feel the energy flowing.

That’s not to say there are not a couple of postures that are a little sweat inducing.  We have a couple of them that we just stand and hold for three minutes like the frog (and I would like someone to check his watch because I swear time stands still and I have travelled to another dimension and back.)  I watch my sweat drops hit the ground as my legs shake.

There is a little bit of everything.  Balancing on one foot and kicking.  Verryyy slowly.  I find I can do it if I do it fast, but we have to slooowwwly shift our body weight to the right raise up our elbow over our knee (that part called the Rooster posture) then slowly extend our leg I fall over some where between the doodle and the do.  I caught the instructor stifling a laugh more than once.  But I am getting better.   A little every week.  Lots of room for improvement in Tai Chi and I could see doing this well into my senior years if not for life.  Much to learn and I know one thing about me is I’m happiest when learning something new.

Cycling.  Was going okay but it kind of fizzled.  I can’t find a daytime cycling coach to keep a set time.  So for now I’m just going to coach myself.   I know what mortified me when training with Adam so I’m going to just go out to the park on Wednesday mornings and do hill repeats until I don’t embarrass myself anymore.  I don’t really need a coach for that.  When I was a little kid my mother gave me a tennis racquet (bigger than me) and one ball and put me in the garage.  Hit that ball against the garage wall  a hundred times.  I remember being so little and that garage seeming so huge and hitting all the wall seemed a mile away.  Now all I would be able to do in the garage is some volleys, one good backswing and I would be on my keester on the driveway.  Harlem Hill is like my garage wall.  I need to hit it a hundred times and then there might be something to coach.

Swimming pretty much once a week.  Usually Wednesdays still with Jen.  This week she was helping me with my turns.  I think I lose a lot of my time at the wall.  Add to the to-do list.

Galloway running group is going well.  Tomorrow will be my first Saturday that I will miss because my niece is getting married.  But I’ve been doing the long runs with the group on Saturday.  So far 6 miles is our longest run (twice).  I’m in the slowest group and I’m very happy there.  I like my little group.  We are still doing a 1 minute run 1 minute walk which is just fine with me.  We are supposed to move up to a 2:1 soon but frankly I’m happy where we are. I don’t have a time agenda. I just want to meet my group each week and finish the workout strong.  A bunch of them are doing Bronx Half in August and I’d rather shoot myself in the foot than do the Bronx half in August again.  That was brutal.  It is strange for me to have a group to run with.  And we talk and we laugh and they are just so nice.  I try to do a short run (40 minutes) sometime during the day on Tuesday and Thursday.  I know to improve I need to make Tuesday a hill work day.  I’ll work on that….

I decided to sign up for a couple of Fall Half Marathons and that would be it for 2011.  No triathlons.  No century rides.  No ultras, not even a sprint.  Just two half marathons in the Fall.  I really enjoyed doing the Hartford Half with Colleen in October so we signed up to do it again.   I just want to practice my different sports — a little of everything.  A smorgasborg of sports.  I’m okay with that.  I’m enjoying this headspace of non-extreme.

I am thinking that I would like to do another endurance event in 2012 but I want to go into it from a really stable platform.  Not just physically stable but mentally stable as well.  No beating myself up if I can’t keep up (thank you Galloway Group for reminding me about the importance of finishing strong and RECOVERING quickly.)  Thank you Tai Chi for teaching me about balance and focus (okay I have a long way to go there.)  Thank you tennis for reminding me how tennis is a sport for life.  Even if I’m not a twenty-something super star I still have some tricks in my bag.  “Never underestimate the judicious use of a lob.” MB   Thank you swimming for giving me a workout that doesn’t hurt (much).  And biking, my long-lost love, I will find you again soon.  I will keep hunting for you on Harlem Hill once a week and out in the hinterlands on the weekend.  We’ll find each other again.

Food remains a focus.  I have my next meeting with Andrea Moss next week. I think I had some success with some of my assignments.  There were not a lot.  We had a long break in between sessions as she was away on vacation.  I continue to work on my harmony with calories in/calories out.  I read a surprisingly good book.  Called Mindless Eating by Brian Wasink.   Really eye-opening and I highly recommend it to everyone.  He’s a scientist at Cornell and does studies on human behavior and eating and the stories he tells are fascinating.  I think it might be one of the best books I’ve read in a long time.  Real practice tips on fending off that  pound a year creep and for those of us who need to lose weight how to slowly (very slowly) reverse it by making small adjustments to habits most people are not even aware of.  It’s not that I have not heard of certain tips before (like eat off of a smaller plate) but to hear the research behind it and how our minds work made me realize how much these little tips could really have a big impact.  The book started out slow for me (ho-hum another diet book) but after the first couple of studies I found myself saying “Really? Fascinating!!” more than once.  By the end of the book you can  see how just changing 100-200 calories a day can make a huge difference.

So that’s where I am in my Journey of Fitness.  I’m definitely in a different place.  I’m not running tons of mileage.  I’m not swimming thousands of yards and not biking hundreds of miles.  I’m just kind of learning to live peacefully, somewhere in the middle.  But don’t think I’m out.  I still enjoy endurance events and I will look forward to doing them in 2012.    Think of it as the calm before the storm.


I will be attending this retreat in the Berkshires on the 19th.

Creating Health and Harmony: An Ayurvedic Retreat

Hilary Jones Garivaltis and Healthy Living Faculty

Discover a natural, individualized approach to living well. Are you interested in Ayurveda but not sure where to start? Increasingly popular, Ayurveda is an ancient system of holistic medicine based on understanding the balances in nature and how they apply to our daily lives. more …

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