Making every bite count

11 January 2010

Running, yoga and burritos

I try to live each day to exhaustion. Today, I succeeded and surpassed that goal, yet I'm still bursting with energy. 
6:30 alarm became 6:45 and eventually 7:15. I slept in my base layer of running clothes, layered up and warmed up with my Whittle My Middle exercises. I ventured into the 19 degree morning for a 25 minute run. Slow and steady, I ran around Newport. 
My day was busy and uneventful. I spent a good deal of time talking about running clothes and races--and my impending doom, I mean strength training challenge--with my coworker. 
After work, my favorite yoga class of the week: Led ashtanga primary series at Yogasana. Class started at 6:30; I got into my car at 8:12. That's about 90 minutes of yogic bliss. We did primary series through bhujapidasana, then added hanumanasana for fun. My right side splits are almost back, and my left are as good as they ever were. I am respecting my edge and not pushing. Torn hamstrings are painful and take a long time to heal. I speak from experience. 
Tonight, we focused on lengthening the neck, observing and nurturing the backbends throughout primary series. 
In addition to deeper, more obvious backbends like urdhva mukha svanasana (upward facing dog) and urdhva dhanurasana (full wheel), there are mini backbends scattered throughout: in utkatasana (fierce/chair), in tadasana/samasthiti (mountain), in virabhdrasana (warrior). Not just a chance to lean back, these backbends are a chance to open the chest, allow the heart to lead and lengthen and strengthen the neck. 
I twisted deeply in my marichysana series, binding in C and D and allowing my forehead to easily rest in B. My nose and knee were intimately acquainted tonight. 
In ardha baddha padmottanasana, my nose met knee for one breath on right, one on left. I held utthita hasta padanghustasana on right, save a couple of touches against the wall with my elbow. On left, I didn't fully extend in B, but I held myself. 
My vinyasas felt strong; I took one step closer to my heels in urdhva dhanurasana. 
Sirsasana wasn't quite on, but I practiced for 15 minutes when I came home and threw in adho mukha vrksasana (handstand) for fun.
I returned home to half a burrito from La Mexicana smothered in hot sauce. The perfect dinner, along with a 3 oz pour of Chakana Malbec 2006. 
I made spicy almond noodles (ginger/garlic/almond butter/hot pepper/tamari over whole wheat angel hair with snow peas and onions) for lunches, and a batch of black bean and lentil chili is in the Crockpot Fred's mom left here on New Year's. I've never really used a crockpot; vegetarian cooking is quick, but this should be a nice change. 
A long soak in an Epsom bath was necessary, and now I'm in bed with Paolo Coelho's "Eleven Minutes," most of which I read in French a couple of years back. I'm going to finish it in English, then return to the French to see how much I remember. 
My French is AWFUL these days; I rarely speak it though I have two French friends. Working on that. 
Tomorrow I have day two of half marathon training group. We've only got a three-mile run, then Im heading to Trader Joe's to pick up groceries--yay, gift card! I'm getting up early for yoga--the goal is primary series in the A.M. Oh, and my 100-pushups challenge test is at 10:30. My arms are sore, so I'm a bit nervous. 
Wish me luck.

08 January 2010

Simmering beans and an exercise in passive voice

Life is quieter, less complicated. More complicated at the same time.

It's a Friday night, and I dropped him off at a jazz club to celebrate a friend's birthday. I hit the grocery and silently roamed the aisles, sticking to my list, getting excited over coupons and minding my budget.

I led with my heart all day. A small victory in the battle of good and evil.

Black beans are simmering in the rice cooker, dotted with garlic, cumin, onion, hot pepper flakes and a bit of salt. Tonight, I parboiled the beans with baking soda for 15 minutes, drained and rinsed, then rinsed the rice cooker. To the cooker, I added half an onion, a handful of dried tomatoes, 4 cloves of garlic, 2T cumin, a hearty pinch each of pepper flakes and salt. That cooked for a minute, until I could smell the spices, then I added white wine, about a cup. In went my pound of beans.

They’ll become the basis for black bean hummus, to be eaten with raw carrots (me) and cauliflower (him) as snacks all week, and chili (dinner and lunch for a couple of days).

Planning menus makes me feel very much in control of what's feeding me. And with

The tomatoes were from the farmers market. I dried them with oregano and olive oil this summer, in the dehydrator my grandmother gave me. It's no Excelsior, but it was free!

"Tether" from "All That We Let In" plays in the background, Amy's and Emily's voices bringing me back to 2003, when I was just out of college and felt like I ruled the world, and I did, through a haze of rum and diet Coke. My, how life changes. I love the Indigo Girls. Since 16, they've been my favorite.

And for that, I am grateful.

Tonight I sit, on a stool made by my grandfather and father, at the island in my kitchen, in my apartment that was once the Sunday School rooms of the church.
I'm dipping my toe back into writing personally. This time, this is for me. A chance to reflect, to slow down, to breathe.

I don't want wine. I want water, to hydrate me for the first day of half marathon training.

I'm in a strange, introverted mood, perhaps influenced by the two days I've spent holed up in the apartment avoiding the snow. Thursday I worked from home, and today as well. Tonight's journey to Kroger were my first steps beyond my living room.

Last night, I was energized: I cleaned the kitchen, cooked dinner, did two loads of laundry (though those along with two others from last weekend are folded and in limbo, awaiting their safe returns to closets, shelves and drawers. Soon. Tomorrow, perhaps.), planned next week's meals, helped my sister with her French homework and tutored my mother on the intricacies of Facebook.

Today I felt lethargic. Work dragged, though I was plugging away at interesting projects. I noshed. I snacked. I unnecessarily carb-loaded. Tonight I crave fruit.
I cleaned the kitchen, trimmed the cat's nails, practiced yoga (standing primary series, held for 7-10 breaths). And now I'm listening to the kitchen timer tick away the minutes, tapping away, as the beans simmer.

Back to yoga.

Slightly cliché and unusual for me: Incense was burned, Krishna Das was played, clothes were stripped. Poses were held. Breathe was stretched.

Head touched floor in Prasarita Padottanasana A and D; hair touched in B and C.

Nose met knee on left and right in Parsvottanasana and Ardha Baddha Padmottanasana. The nose and the knee are quite keen on each other. Like other marvels of the body, they fit together perfectly.

Utthita Hasta Padanghustasana was held on left throughout A-D; on right A-B before faltering.

This year's goal: lead with the heart, drop the shoulders, lift the chest, and pull the belly in. Well, that's really four goals. Those are the running motivations for deepening my practice.

Along with a daily headstand (to come after I sign off) and stronger, more fluid vinyasas, the aforementioned are fueling me. Body, mind, spirit in harmony.

Feeling happy.
Feeling content.

Forgive the ramblings. Tonight, I write, but I do not edit.

05 January 2010

Under construction: lost my template :(

So... in trying to edit my template before transferring to WordPress to my new domain, I deleted my pretty pretty template.
Thus, we have the Green Monster. And not the good kind. :(
Give me a week, and all will be fixed.