Haydn & my Best Running Doula (to date)

Aisslinn Nosky and the Handel and Haydn Society performed this weekend and I was overwhelmed!

IMG_7371I took a quick demographic survey of the audience and clearly, classical music performances are not most of my peers idea of a good time; I think they’re missing out.  This ensemble is brilliant! I saw the group perform for a holiday concert in December and the concertmaster of that performance, Susanna Ogata won my heart.  She is a spirited and involved musician. Apart from the mastery, technique and precise interpretation of the orchestra, what I loved most about watching her play, was that I was watching her with the rest of the orchestra celebrate a love affair.

So, I came back for more this month only to have a new beau. The principal bass player models this same finesse.  Anthony Manzo expressively sang his solo and smartly  complimented the melodious refrain for the violins. The performance of the overture to Lo Speziale<–listen! made me dance in my seat.  What exactitude! Moreover, what joy!  When Nosky lead the Violin Concerto in C Major, Hob. vila:1, I wanted to be invited to the party.  Her leadership, her smiles, the pensive glances between her and Ogata made me want in on the party.  There were smiles, furrowed eyebrows of intense concentration, and more smiles.  There was intensity.  At times there were supportive roles, a bystander approach and other times center stage with fireworks.

Watching this group perform was a great honor.  Hearing them play a gift, but watch the dialogue, the interaction and the commitment of each musician to the totality of this theater of performance won my heart.  They had fun playing and also terrific respect for their leaders. How could you not, Nosky has loud  hair and a punk fashion sense.  Take that #cashmereandpearls! (read Carol Christ’s response to the movement)  There was bow waiving and feet stamping and gratitude in the faces of the performers.  Appreciation for their hours of practice and their mutual commitment to such exactitude.

And of course, it was me watching them perform and so I thought of birth.  (you knew that was coming, right?!)  But I also thought of training.

Another recent night, someone offered to run part of an upcoming marathon with me to keep me company.  If you know me, you know this is exactly what I don’t want. My husband tried to “run me in” my first marathon and I just wanted to trip him for having the energy at mile 23 that I did not have.  I didn’t trip him and I tried to remain gracious but really, I wanted to be in my own space.  My husband did run our friend in the last miles of her marathon and she loved it. She said she couldn’t do it without knowing someone had her back until the end.

To that end, we’re all different, we all need different things.  When I trained for my first half-marathon, my friend and I did it together. Together, remotely.  She was in Wisconsin and I was in Massachusetts.  We checked in during training and then took off from the start together 8-weeks later.  Two years later, when we trained for our first marathon, Millie ran one in WI and I did one around the same time at home.  She is an awesome training partner.  I had another running friend, who we’ll call Katie (because that’s her name). She was my rock. We actually did our long runs together on the same morning, in the same city.  We were training for different races but we supported each other, pushed each other further and laughed. We really laughed!  Even when I didn’t think we could do another mile, it was so easy for Katie to talk me into it. She never pushed the pace, she never let me overtake her.  We were truly always in stride on the asphalt.  We talked or didn’t talk. I said I need a break. We took a break. I said let’s push the pace. We did. We said, let’s do a tempo run on Tuesday and we did.  We added hills to our route and we roared at the top. #xcHabitsDieHard

I love my husband and I realize he had the best intentions of supporting me during that run.  He wanted the best race experience for me.  But, what would have helped him in a race, did not help me.  He’s my best friend and I don’t hold this against him. He did his best and I was doing mine. What I really needed, was a doula for that race.  I needed Katie to just show up and be there and not explicitly ask anything of me. Its AN ART to be present in intense silent, pacing, inter-conversation.  As a support person, (an orchestra to the soloist), (or a training buddy), there’s respect, support, moving toward and backing away.  We do that during parts of a marathon course and we do that during a labor and the first days of motherhood.

In Sum, support the H+H Society (tickets are cheap!). Find a doula you like.  Find a running buddy, remotely or nearby.  And then express yo’ self!

This post is for Millie, Hans, Annalee, Katie and all the new Moms and Dads, especially those who have adopted recently (go Kristin! Yah Smithies!), and in memory of Mr. Hofreiter (best conductor ever) who gave me confidence and Nneka who inspires still.  

Love and Peace, Yogis.

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The Yoga Antedote for Running, Cycling & Plain Ol’ Livin’

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A few weeks ago, I visited a good friend and body-worker. I first began visiting her office several years ago when a hamstring injury that just wouldn’t go away needed attention. We worked through that problem and now I see her regularly for maintenance and care.

During this recent session, we were talking about the bike ride I had just completed 150+ miles in two days(MS Cape Cod Getaway! I highly recommend doing an event for charity!)  and her triathlon training.

Wellfleet

I should mention, that my hamstring injury, while not running related  (definitely Yoga, primary series related) affected my running. During training for my most recent marathon, which was a disaster (epic fail), my calve muscle began seizing after long runs. I would wake up in the morning unable to get my heel to the ground.   I bought compression socks, I ate more electrolytes and bananas and greens.  During the marathon, I tied my shoe laces WAY too tightly and coupled with the already angry lower leg, walking became unbearable.

So, back to the present. A few years later, I’m still working on figuring out how exactly to keep my legs happy after lots of forward folding and use running or in yoga.   While exploring this simply fascinating topic, of course, I’ve learned other things about my left leg and namely my adductors. A chiropractor suggested that lymphatic fluid buildup in this area may trigger that party going on in my leg.   So the body-worker whose table I was laying on as we were discussing cycling and training, suggested I do legs up the wall after running.

As it so happens, around Boston marathon time, my husband complained about a sore back and hamstring soreness and the FIRST thing I told him to do, was to put his legs up the wall.  This man doesn’t stretch but I figured, even if he doesn’t stretch, he could listen to a  baseball game with his legs up the wall doing nothing and do some good for his body. IMG_4501

So the one-trillion dollar question is -Do I put my legs up the wall after a run? I prescribe it!  Friends talk about it! Mmmmm…So, why did it take me so long to practice what I preach?

During my MS bike ride where I rode 115 miles, I put my legs up the wall for a good 30 minutes and on the second day of cycling 75 miles, I had no problems. Day later? week later? no soreness.

So now as I write this post I’m lying on my back after 7 mile run with my legs up the wall. So why is this Viparita Karani or legs up the wall such a magical pose?  As part of any first aid training, problem?  RICE! Elevate and ice and so on.  After pounding the pavement incessantly? Repetitive motion of hips, quads, calves, knees?  It would make sense that to reinstate R&R we should elevate them. I’m no medical practitioner and I won’t suggest that when we go upside down into an inversion, our circulation goes upside down; At least I would hope not:  I always want blood flowing to my heart, but it makes sense for other lymphatic fluids to move away from a raised area.

I often suggest legs up the wall for my prenatal students when they suffer from swelling feet or ankles.  I suggest legs up the wall for students who were ever troubling trouble with adrenals. Legs of the wall seems like it’s your cure-all.  Hooray! I fixed everything! It’s a pretty accessible pose. I did it camping,  between rides and at home.  The hardest part is nudging your butt against the wall to get your legs up in the first place.  Besides that – piece of cake! Like I said before, you can listen to the baseball game read a book or record a blog entry. Easy Peezy! #PracticeWhatYouPreach #YogaEveryday

 

 

Last Call- Yoga for Runners 4/6 1-3pm

 

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After the 2009 Boston Marathon

Come join me as part of your marathon taper plan.  We’ll stretch the hips, IT band, strengthen the feet and core and get you balanced for your next run whether it is the Boston Marathon or a run to catch the T! Runners’ Yoga Clinic, Sunday 4/6 at O2 Yoga Cambridge 2001 Mass Ave btwn Central and Harvard. Sunday parking is easy. T accessible!

Register under the workshop tab @ o2yoga.com

Running just as fast as you can

After a truly fantastic final weeks of summer, I have found a home for my *yoga for runners* class! “Hip-hop Hooray-ho, Hey-ho”…Don’t pretend you forgot the lyrics. Or that feel good feeling you had of being young and invincible. Enter the need to complement running + yoga = running through old age.

The Cambridge Y is hosting this fun filled class beginning this Friday at 6pm.  Members can use their passes. Outside friends can drop in for a $15 rate.

Those are the details but I’m totally jazzed about this for a few reasons.

1. I had a long run this weekend with a plan to log 20 miles.

2. I came close but didn’t feel so awesome on the run. Heavy legs and tight calves were brutal. Yes typical of many runs but not essential to grin &  suck up.

RETROSPECT:  I did not do much yoga last week.

My hope is that the class offers so restorative opening for runners who have logged some miles during the week but also prepares for the weekends’ long run by getting into the outer hip, legs and upper body for mobility.

See you on the mat!  Namaste.

-D