Monthly Archives: July 2011

7/12/11 Make Them Hit One More Ball

Tuesday. Seriously, It’s only Tuesday? The work is piled high. In a way I’m grateful for 95 degrees today will be a good reason to stay inside and get it all done. Just got of the tennis court and figured I would throw out a short blog entry before another two weeks go by.

Had a difficult 5 mile run on Saturday. I don’t get warmed up until mile 4 and it was me and four guys and Ann the coach. Two new guys showed up (no business being in our group) and three of our regular guys. None of my regular gals showed up. We lost one of the new guys instantly once he started running an 8 minute mile. The other guys were all kind of pushing each other and I was left in the dust pretty fast. We ran up the westside of the park to do the lower 5 mile loop. I was dying until the end when I finally caught my breath. We were doing our 1 minute run 1 minute walk but I had to run during my walk to catch up with guys. Too fast… Ugh oh well, this Saturday we are back up to 12 miles but I’m only going to do 8. I would rather get 8 done than crap out on 12. I have a lot of work to do on running.

Saturday afternoon I played a tennis match. A weird one but it ended up okay. We didn’t have time to finish but by the end I was really finding a groove and felt very good. After a rocky start I was up in the end. I was inspired by a pro on the next court. She was amazing. Young, fluid, strong. Turns out she is ranked 120 or so in the world. She’s still in college (Princeton) and has already played at Wimbledon, US Open and the French Open. Wow, after watching her hit, I started to hit a little harder and let the ball flow. I was practicing letting the ball tell me where it wanted to go instead of forcing the point to be over because I don’t want to run. I did surprisingly well. I think I ran more in the match than I did in my five miles. I tried to hold onto that feeling but it was fleeting…

Sunday I rode with Jan and Jen. Well I started out with Jan and Jen. Had coffee with Jan and Jen and finished with Jan and Jen, but I couldn’t keep up with them to save my life. I was so hurting on the bike. So tired. Need some extra iron this week, I’m on it. Learning to sense when I need more and I take it. The good thing about riding with people who are faster than you is that you push through even when you don’t want to because the embarrassment of keeping everyone waiting is worse than the pain of actually riding. And we will do it again and again until we get it right. We all agreed we have a lot of work to do to just get ready to train for another Ironman. Ironman is no joke and I for one know I have a lot of work to do to show up for pre-season.

Monday day trip to CT. Doctors, doctors and more doctors for my parents. One doctor’s appointment begets two more. It’s a medical racquet. Everybody refers and nobody actually does anything. Final result is just more doctor’s appointments next week.

Hit some balls with Marlie this morning. I wasn’t feeling very sparkly. My legs were feeling dead. I was trying to find some of my spark from Saturday afternoon but it wasn’t there. Bottom line in tennis is if you don’t move your feet you’re dead. Your racquet can only do so much — its your feet that do the real work. My old coach Bogie used to call it cat paws, you are constantly kneading the court with your feet. Little fast feet. Never stop. It’s harder to move from a dead stop than from a little bounce in your step. Today I was dragging two big, hairy dead cats holding onto my tennis shoes.

Today’s lesson was found in one point where Marlie drove a deep cross-court and sent me running hard for the ball. It was one of those Hail Mary shots — just throw your racquet at it and hope for the best. Getting to the ball would be the accomplishment, getting back over the net would require some divine intervention. Marlie’s observation is that I just went for a desperate winner. “You thought you wouldn’t get to another ball so you went for a winner and missed. Throw up a lob. Maybe they’ll miss.” Hmmm, I always lob or hit a high topspin when I’m pulled off court and I need some time to get back to the center. But she’s right. I was already heading into the next court so even if I got the ball back I knew I wasn’t going to come back to hit another shot so I just went for sudden death and that’s what I got. Blaze of Glory shot, you make the winner and you are the hero. Miss — everyone still thinks you gave it a good shot (remember the movie “Tin Cup?”  I so identified…. But good tennis is also about percentages. That was not a good percentage shot. Had I just hit a high loopy lob and just got it back on the court, maybe, just maybe she would have missed. Of course it was Marlie so she wasn’t going to miss, but a lesser opponent might.

These are not lessons we have not already learned.  They just keep going around and at different times they pop up and remind us to get back on track. Bottom line is it is not over until it’s over and always, always make them hit another shot. That’s my mantra today. I might not get it all done. I might not do everything perfectly today. But I’m going to keep trying and hit one more shot, try one more time. Just try.

So everyone has been talking about the phenomenal woman’s soccer game this week. I think it’s a wonderful example of “it ain’t over until it’s over” and just try. In case you are the one person who missed it.


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7/4/11 Whatsa Vatta You?

Monday.  Finally have a quiet moment to make a blog update.   Haven’t written since Kripalu so that should be my update point.  The program on Intro to Ayurvedic studies was really a great program.  Five days of introductory instruction on a 5,000 year science.  It’s kind of like learning bridge.  Sure I can teach you the fundamentals in a couple of hours.  Here are the suits, here is the basic direction of playing cards and here are the basics of bidding.  But have I really taught you to play bridge?  No.  It’s a lifetime of study and it will takes years before you are any good at it.

So Ayur (knowing) Veda (life) is basically the science of life.  I am not going to disrespect the science of Ayurveda by attempting to do some Cliff Notes version of the studies.  And anyone can google Ayurveda to find out about the elements and the doshas.  I will say, to me, Ayurveda is the Science of balance in Nature — your psychological nature, your physical nature and the nature in the physical world around you.  It is learning about rhythms and working with natural remedies to feel your best.

The program I went for was a five-day Healthy Living Retreat Introduction to Ayurveda.  Every morning we were encouraged to get up, have a short meditation and then met at 7:30 for a one hour walk.  (On Tuesday and Thursday I did my own run per my Galloway training).  Everything is optional at Kripalu.  They don’t take attendance or even look at you askance if you don’t show up.  While I was there for this Ayurveda program there were other people there for different programs.  Kripalu is well known for its yoga school so you always meet a lot of yoga teachers there taking some yoga teacher certification course.  Then there are all the people there for R&R.  You can just go to Kripalu and contemplate your navel and take any of the open classes they have going on during the day.

We had 14 people in our class.  When I sat down (you can sit on the floor on meditation cushion,  in a back jack or in a regular chair) I thought I wasn’t going to bond with any of these people — they all seemed a little too serious for me, almost sad, uptight.  I was thinking what a boring group. That, dear reader, is the definition of projection. Boy was I EVER wrong.  By the end of five days you really got to know everyone and each and every single person was very special and had an amazing story — I was the boring one.  It turn out that several people were there with very serious medical issues and hoping an Ayurvedic lifestyle might help them.  There were several yoga teachers and health care professionals there to start to bring Ayurvedic principles into their practices.  And then there were just a handful of us average Janes, a little too stressed-out looking for an antidote to 21st century America.

Each morning we had a lecture for about 2 hours.  First couple of days on the basic principles of Ayurveda — studying the elements of Ether, Air, Fire, Water and Earth and the doshas Vatta, Pitta and Kapha.  Then we had lectures on how these apply to real life — Ayurveda and nutrition, Ayurveda and emotional well-being, creating a personal Ayurvedic plan to take home.  We also had two classes on Ayurvedic breathing techniques and meditation.  We also had two live cooking classes which were really pretty good. (I actually made Bihrani rice and lentils already!)

Each day at lunchtime we had about 2:30 hours free.  That would give you time to go to yoga dance (a very popular noon-time class open to everyone) or a regular yoga class or just go to lunch and take a nap.  I slept somewhere around 50 hours in the 5 days I was there.  My adrenal system was shot and I was not feeling really well so I needed a lot of sleep.

Classes were over around 4:30 each day (afternoon session about 2 1/2 hours).  Then you had time to go for another yoga class or nap or hike.  I actually organized a group hike for some of the gals in the class.  I found a map to a place called monks pond and went out one day by myself to find it.  About half way up into the woods I got scared that I would be eaten by a bear so I decided to find some other people to come with me.  The following day I got four others to agree to go the next day and I led a hike up there and then to another spot called Olivia’s lookout.  We hiked for almost 3 hours and everyone was really happy they came along.  And I did not get us lost.  Well I didn’t actually find the second trail on the map but I figured out the right direction and got us there in one piece. Okay we had to take a little detour and walk a little bit on a road to get back to Kripalu but I got us there in tact and they all thought I was a great group leader.  I confessed to them my secret desire to work at Kripalu taking over for Ruth the activities director.  But that will be one day when my non-existence trust fund comes in.

Each night they had some activity  — drumming, a concert, a cooking demo… something for everyone.  Some people went into “town” — Lenox or Stockbridge looking for something interesting to do.  I explained — it’s the Berkshires, blink and you’ll miss downtown.  Tanglewood is across the street but their season had not opened yet.  But sunrise didn’t happen until 8:30 so by the time the sunset we were all exhausted already.

One thing I did do was a special massage treatment. Ayurveda is big on using oils and herbs. They do all kinds of special treatment massages. I went for the Abhyanga-Swedna treatment which is a detoxifying oil treatment and then they put a tent over you (not your face) and steam you with fresh herbs. It’s supposed to be all very purifying. Unfortunately I do think my body knows how to handle being that pure. I actually did not feel so great at the end of my detoxification week at Kripalu. I think after 51 years my body is used to running on some chemicals and impurities. It was almost like the air was too clean to breathe. I think a shot of Jack and a cigarette would have made me feel better. (No I don’t smoke any more but I remember it.)

I truly enjoyed my week at Kripalu studying Ayurveda.  By the end I was convinced I was going to become an Ayurvedic consultant and go back to school at Kripalu for 24 weeks of study (plus I would also have to take an anatomy and physiology class at a university).  You need over 1,000 hours of study.  I was all excited until I learned we would start at dawn and have classes until 9 p.m.  We would have a class at 7 pm each night.  Seriously?  I am so shut down at 7 p.m.  I’m too old for that.  I’m too Kapha.  I need the part-time study course… Maybe the five-year plan.

I am going to try to start incorporating more Ayurvedic principles into my everyday life.   I’m not giving up my microwave (yet.)  I will still buy some frozen foods but I am going to take advantage of summer fruits and veggies. I will continue to study Ayurvedic principles because they are based on common sense and 5,000 years of trial and error. If someone can tell me about a couple of herbs that might make me feel a little better, why not?  As our instructor said, just start small don’t try to overhaul your entire life.  Maybe just have some fruit for breakfast.  I can do that.


Here is are a few pictures from my week at Kripalu.

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