Making changes

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This week Ivan and I haven’t watched a single television show. This is a big deal. Usually we’re exhausted and it’s 1030pm and before we go to sleep we decide to watch one of the many television shows we seem to have become attached to (Breaking Bad (up to season 3), Homeland, The Walking Dead, Modern Family). And then it’s 1130pm and we’re extra exhausted but kind of wired from staring at a computer screen.

Mika has been having a rough time sleeping in her new toddler bed. Last night she was up every 2 hours (WHAT THE WHAT?!). And there are so many books I need to read and teachings I need to practice and letters I want to write. So on Monday I asked Ivan if he would support me in us NOT watching television before bed and he said yes and it has been so great.

On Monday I took Ivan through some yoga poses and then we were so exhausted we went straight to bed. On Tuesday we played our old favourite board game and talked and laughed together. Last night I read my book and turned out the light around 930pm.

Obviously at some point we’ll watch a television show again but this week we’ve created space for something new by making some positive changes and it feels wonderful. Sometimes that is all you need to feel a little unstuck.

Now we just have to work on Mika’s sleeping habits….

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Yoga 01: One body, one mind.

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The world can be busy and full and overwhelming and it can be easy to lose sight of who I am. I can get caught up in work, in eating and drinking, in moving here and there, in rushing, in shopping, in driving. I can turn to autopilot and one day look in the mirror and wonder ‘who is that?’

To me, yoga is about turning off autopilot and opening my eyes. Yoga is a daily practice in saying ‘hello’ to myself. Yoga is a conversation, a relationship between my body and mind which is mediated or connected by my breath. Like all relationships, it practices understanding, honesty, love and forgiveness. One doesn’t try to control the other, it just lets it be, without judgement.

I practice asanas (or postures) on the mat to better understand my body and to allow my mind a chance to practice acceptance and love and sometimes a chance to rest. Off my mat, my mind can be overactive and I use my breath to connect it back to my body and find balance.

This practice is a lifelong journey. To me, yoga is about choosing to be awake, choosing to live fully, the best I can and in each moment and continuing to breathe. Because as long as I am breathing, there can always be yoga.

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So, so tired.

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So beautiful, so energetic

Ivan and I were doing a yoga class for ‘new parents’ and the teacher mentioned something about this feeling of ‘needing to exercise more combined with extreme fatigue’. And I was like ‘YES!’ That is the feeling that I have been feeling so often since Mika was born. Of course I know that I should exercise, but the less sleep I get, the harder it gets. (Obviously).

So because I love lists, I have compiled a list of ways that I try to keep active, even when I am extremely exhausted pretty much every day:

I get passive exercise
It’s no secret that we don’t own a car. So we make the 2km round trip to the grocery store by foot. I ride my bike to yoga class. We hike up the big hill behind our house every day to go to the park.

I always get on my mat
Practicing yoga for me is about accepting where I am right now. If I get on my mat and realise that I am really exhausted, I can practice acceptance, I can practice some poses that help rejuvinate and invigorate me, or I can just lie in corpse pose for as long as I need.

I wear my workout gear
I’m probably the biggest fashion embarrassment ever BUT at least I feel good. Ha. If I intend to go for a run in the late afternoon when Ivan gets home from work, I find that it helps if I wear my workout clothes all day. This is ridiculous, I know, but it also means that I feel ready to chase mika, walk faster up the hill, stretch it out at the playground 😉 – passive exercise I’M READY FOR YOU!

I try to sleep well
Ha, OBVIOUSLY if I was childless this would be more under my control, but I am blessed with a beautiful daughter and so I spend many hours AWAKE when my body would probably rather be sleeping. However, to help me sleep well when I do get there, I keep a window open in our room, I don’t drink coffee after noon (heh…), and I am currently trying to avoid screen time after 930pm.

Any other tips or ideas on staying active/healthy when you are so so exhausted, are welcome!

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Running with tears

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The national anthem started and I had tears in my eyes. Was it my national anthem? I don’t even really know what that means anymore, so sure. I’m in America now and I got tears in my eyes during the national anthem.

I have no idea why I got tears in my eyes. Maybe the tears were for the fact that right after Mika was born I couldn’t imagine ever running again, let alone racing half a marathon. Or maybe they were for the fact that late that night before the race, Ivan had cycled to Walgreens to get my watch fixed which I’d only just discovered had stopped working, even though he has so much work to do, just so I could get to bed early. Or maybe I was crying because of all the 5am starts and cold rainy runs that I’d done, knowing that I was working towards this. Or maybe it was out of love and respect for my body – my body that had been feeling achy and ill all week leading up to the race – that was somehow able to pull this off. Or maybe it’s because for the first day in more than a week, there was no rain, and later the sun would come out.

I didn’t cry. Just so you know. But then the starting bell went and as we passed our first group of supporters, cheering and yelling, I welled up again. WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? I laughed to nobody at how ridiculously happy I felt and how surprisingly good I felt as I followed the feet of the pacer infront of me.

Running 13.1 miles is much easier than running 21.1 kilometres. For one, writing 12 splits on my hand is much easier than writing 20. And mentally I found this race possibly the easiest I’ve ever run. This is how I broke it down:

  • Run 5 miles at target pace. Assess how I feel at 5 miles. I was following the 1:45 pacer for the first 5 miles and I felt super.
  • Feeling good? Bump it up slightly and run another 5 miles. So I dropped the pacer and bumped up my pace until I was coming through 2 minutes under my goal splits for the next 5 miles.
  • Now I’m at the 10 mile mark. Only a 5k to go. Run that 5k as hard as I can. I was hoping I would pick up the pace even more. But my thighs were cramping up and I wasn’t even sure if I was running anymore. I kept up my pace, maybe increasing it a fraction, and wasn’t sure if I’d make it over the line in one piece.
  • Boom. Done. I made it. In one piece.

My PB for a half marathon is 1:30:00. There’s no way I’m training at that level now, but considering my training I’m extremely happy with my time of 1:42:48 for this Seattle half marathon. Only 10 minutes slower than my best!

Waiting for the bus to brunch, check out that amazing christmas train set!! Mika couldn’t take her eyes off it.

Ivan and Mika were at the finish line to see me cross and although my body was like ‘whaat?’ seeing them there in the super cold at 9am was possibly the best thing in the world (brunch at Chaco Canyon an hour later was a close second).

Alright, I’ve run my post-baby half marathon, we can have another baby now.

(p.s those instagram photos above are not mine, they belong to josephrlee, kelsnasty, missy_dearest, kaypearamsdale, pinkpre and runhappier. I didn’t take my phone with me)

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On not owning a car

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(playing silly games on the walk home today)

You know that I love not owning a car. But then sometimes I really wish we owned a car. We probably will end up owning a car at some point. One car for the family, as we grow from 3 to 4 and when we move to an area further away from our work.

But until then, I’ve been constantly reminding myself of the benefits of not owning a car:

  • Passive exercise. Even if we take the bus, we still walk half a kilometre from our house to the bus stop and back. The round trip to the nearest grocery store is 2km. And each day Mika and I walk to a park or an activity and we end up walking between 5-10km each day. If we owned a car, that would drastically reduce.
  • Saving money. Taking into consideration bus fares ($2.50 for 3 hours ish), Zipcar costs ($50 a year and $10 per hour of car use) and taxi rides ($20 ish on a night out), owning a car always comes out as costing more. The upfront cost, the ongoing gas, the insurance, the servicing, the repairs…
  • Feeling closer to our community. When we own a car, we usually spend most of our time traveling to places in other neighbourhoods. But when we’re limited to our feet, the bus and our bike, we tend to spend much more time in our own community. I love this.  I love how we can bump into people in the street. I love how when we run errands, we can stop for a little while for Mika to jump in some leaves or to follow a squirrel. The people who are always hopping into cars seem to be in such a rush and much harder to have chance encounters with.
  • Not contributing to all the negative environmental aspects of owning a car. We’re just not. So that’s cool.

90% of me feels extremely lucky that we don’t need a car to have a great life here. And 10% of me keeps wondering if our life would be much cooler if we had a car. Such is life I suppose!


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