Maya Tulum Yoga Retreat Day 1

04/05/2014

Hello from sunny Mexico!

I arrived safe and sound today at about 4:30 local time. It was a long day of traveling after waiting much longer than anticipated for the shuttle from Cancun and after a ~90 min drive to the resort, but was all worth it as we pulled into our tiny little piece of heaven.

There is an organized yoga retreat here this week that is separate from the Mind, Body, Spirit Wellness “Package” I chose. I was lucky enough to ride the shuttle here from the airport with Sadie Nardini, the instructor from NY who will co-lead the other retreat. She’s a super cool, down to earth, eclectic NYer chick and we clicked right away! We talked the whole ride here from Cancun and laughed quite a bit for two people who had only known each other 30 min.

Immediately after checking in and getting settled, I did one of my favorite things to do when I get to a new place…run! The resort is very secluded but not far from the actual town of Tulum. I did a nice 4 mile run through the town and loosened the travel out of my legs. The weather is gorgeous with an awesome ocean breeze so I took full advantage. I have been running very little lately because of my foot so it felt extra special! I do have to ask though, WHY do people in foreign countries look at someone running like they have 7 heads?? Have they never seen a runner before?? Reminded me of being in Jamaica when all the cab drivers would ask me if I needed a ride, while out running. Ummm, no. 🙂

Anyway, I got back from my run just in time to meet Sadie for what she calls her “yoga shred.” She has some videos out and teaches yoga all over the world so I jumped all over the opportunity for a quick private yoga session! We went down to the beach and did yoga poses with cross training mixed in. For example, jumping chair pose. Like 100 reps. Ouch! And pulsing half moon. But it was so peaceful with the ocean right there and was a really great quick workout if you’re crunched for time!

So that wraps up day 1. I have internet in the restaurant so I will try to check in daily but so far so good! Waiting on mango fish tacos and a Maya Tulum smoothie for dinner and then I imagine I’ll be in the racks by 9pm. Yoga is at 9:30 and 5:15pm tomorrow and I have a 2 hour long spa appointment at 12!!! Cannot wait!

Namaste.


Yoga and Wellness Retreat!

03/11/2014

I have gotten a lot of questions since I posted on Facebook last week about the Yoga and Wellness Retreat I recently scheduled so here’s a little more detail! I am very very excited for my first vacation in a year, with no racing involved, and a total relaxation / wellness focus for an entire week!

My yoga background: In addition to swimming, biking and running, I have remained dedicated to practicing vinyasa yoga about 1-3 times a week since 2006. I love love love to ride by bike, but the ease of yoga (i.e. grab mat, towel, minimal clothing) gives it one slight notch up as my favorite type of workout. Most importantly, I have seen tremendous improvement in all aspects of my life with consistent yoga practice – both physically and mentally. The patience and tolerance you learn from practicing yoga (particularly very hot yoga) is unlike anything you can train yourself elsewhere. The dedication is takes to work your body into a new pose is very rewarding – much the same as hitting new paces on a run, new power, or new swim interals…and I thrive off of that stuff. But, yoga is a “competition” amongst you, and only you. There is no competition in the yoga studio and that is what I love about it. Yoga is not judgemental, yoga is accepting that not everyone is or wants to be “elite”, and yoga accepts listening to your body. And I love it!

Why I decided to book the retreat: The yoga studio I attend, Y2 Yoga, hosts semi-annual yoga retreats for small groups of students who wish to attend as do the other studios here in Charlotte. I’ve always thought to myself “wow, that sounds awesome” every time I’ve seen advertisements for such retreats, but have always been too busy racing and training to actually take the time to book one. After a long conversation with my wonderful work-mentor who continuously provides me not only career advise, but insights on how to live life to its fullest, I decided to go ahead and do it! Since the next retreat with Y2 wasn’t until fall, I sought out a retreat of my own. My foot is not at a point where it could handle intense training (running), but I think it could manage a week of yoga. So this seemed like the perfect time!

The retreat: The resort is in Maya Tulum Mexico, located outside of Cancun on the Yukotan Peninsula. I have been to the Mayan Riviera before and it was fabulous.

-8MFkIhu8KY87tbsUEheU_3ld3MgwCaQ5Pe6iT69X-f5YsEXwIbTX8Dkh0PdTH2hkRw4LHs0JUjI4VpT7jTpDsaWwwWWemkllsX9jwGmL7XYMgRJqeVS288Ev26HvhSahl3pWa5kr4vBSDKK3dECgVJgd655

My retreat is April 5-12th. The resort contains only 35 cabanas to which I have selected one that is ocean front – you can’t go to Mexico and not stay on the water!

cabana2

The package I opted for includes:

1. Daily morning and evening yoga practice – one power or vinyasa session indoors in the morning and one restorative session on the pier in the evening.
2. 3 daily gluten free / vegetarian meals (I opted to add the seafood package to mine), all you can drink smoothies, protein drinks, coffee, tea, etc.
3. 2-half day excursions of your choice. I think I will horseback ride on the beach and take a trip to the local ruins, but will update on my final decision after the trip.
4. 3, 80-minute spa treatments – need I say more? I’m not sure if I’m more excited about the yoga or the spa 🙂
5. 2 personal training sessions with the on-staff trainers.
6. A scuba lesson, unlimited snorkeling and kayaking, and access to the resort’s boat (scheduled ahead with a driver – they don’t just let you cruise around the ocean in their boat!)
7. Transportation to and from the airport – boring, but necessary.

Why Mexico: If you do a Google search for yoga retreats, you will see that there are TONS of places to attend – the most common places I found were California, Europe, Thailand, Mexico, Costa Rica and Brazil. I was very close to booking a retreat in Brazil, but many of the reviews commented on the quantity of bugs, so I opted against. I have never been to Brazil and would love to go someday, but I do not like bugs. Period. Also swaying my decision is that Mexico is very easy to get to via a quick 3 hour plane ride. I liked that this particular resort in Mexico was less structured. Some of the retreats I came across required you to particiapte in morning and evening meditation and various other yoga-esque things (sanskrit reading, daily quiet time, chanting, etc). I would enjoy meditating a time or two while I am gone, but I wasn’t up for any “requirements” on my vacation.

“You’re going alone?”: I’ve gotten this question from various people. Yup, I am going alone! Everyone I know (I mean everyone) that I would want to have on such trip is either married, getting married (i.e planning a wedding), have (several) young kids, or are on a budget. Last year was a very busy, stressful year for me at work and in my personal life and I wanted to do something for myself for getting through all of that. I am comfortable enough in my own skin to book a vacation alone and I feel very safe at this particular resort. There are no cell phones, internet is only avaliable at the resort office and the outlets are not sufficient to support laptops (or hair dryers!) so needless to say, I will be truly unplugging while I’m there. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t wonder / worry a little if I will get lonely by the end of the week and about what my hair will look like, but I was assured that there will be plenty of other individuals and guests at the resort to interact with (who also won’t be drying their hair). The excursions are in small groups as well so it will be nice to have company when I so desire 🙂

I plan to do a lot of unwinding, which I have come to the realization that I just cannot force myself to do at home. Every spare hour is always filled with some sort of errand, meeting whoever for coffee, lunch, or grabbing a yoga practice. I’m looking forward to spending a week of my life slightly out of my comfort zone, dedicated to expanding my horizons and my well-being, and doing something I love – yoga and soaking up the sun (with 80 SPF sunscreen, of course). We only have one life to live and we should live it to its fullest!

Only seems fitting to end with…Namaste.


My Favorite Things

01/24/2012

A fellow blogger gave me inspiration for this post (www.peanutbutterrunner.com).  I love her blog and thought her post about the “things she can’t live without” was great!  So I decided to do my own list of things I can’t live without.

Gamin Forerunner 310x (currently)

I’m very much a numbers girl.  I think I survive on some of my runs simply because I have “data” or something to look at, analyze, think about, etc.  I’d guess this is pretty common with the personality traits of triathletes.  A while back, I had to get my Garmin repaired and had to be without it for about 4 days.  It felt as if someone chopped off my feet.  It was like I didn’t know how to run.  Sad!

Garmin Forerunner 310XT Parent ASIN

Garmin Forerunner 910x (soon to be)

This will change as soon as Garmin releases the Forerunner 910x.  My parents were so awesome to get it for me as part of my Christmas gift!  I cannot wait.  The primary difference between the two devices is that the 910x is much more swimming focused.  Obviously since no one has one yet, the jury is still out on it but that’s what Garmin is suggesting.  The 910x is supposed to capture swim distance, stroke identification, stroke count and pool lengths.  I’m reading the website and it will apparently also compute my “swolf score.”  Likely a swimming term that I should know about – I will get researching.  J

Garmin Forerunner 910XT Series

Giant TCR Advanced SL3

Most of my riding until this past April was on my trusty Kuota TT bike.  I made the plunge in April to buy a snazzy road bike so I could start doing some bike races.  Though riding the TT bike consistently does make you stronger because climbing hills on it is much different than on the road bike, I LOVE my new road bike.  It was probably my favorite purchase of 2011!

Nike Stuff!

I bought my first pair of Nike Tempo Track Shorts in 2002 when I was training for my first ½ marathon.  I still have that same pair, they’re still in perfect condition, and I think I have since bought about 45 additional pairs.  These Nike Filament Tights are also something I couldn’t train in the winter without.  I have a whole drawer full these, I love them so much!  Very comfortable, reasonably priced and last forever.

Speedo Vanquishers

It took me about 2 years to find a brand and style of goggles that I love!  Everyone’s eye sockets and such are shaped differently and it took me forever!  I’ve never had a leak in these and they fog much less than other goggles I’ve had in the past.  They make all colors, clear, and mirrored and they’re less than $20!!

Training Peaks

As I stated in #1, I’m a numbers girl.  Training Peaks is right up my alley.  I almost treat it as my workout journal and am pretty diligent with my logging details.  I still can’t figure out if Stacey appreciates it.  J

 

e-Gel

I’ve been an e-Gel  user for almost 2 years  now and I can’t say I’ve had any bad experiences with it – as I and lots of other people have had with many other products.  Vanilla Strawberry Slam is the cats meow, Tropical Blast takes 2nd in my book followed by a tie between Cherry Bomb and Mountain Rush.  They contain 150 calories, 230 mg of sodium, 85 mg of sodium and most importantly, are easy on the stomach and taste great.

Honey Stinger Waffles

I haven’t been using Honey Stinger Waffles but for about 6-7 months but I’ve grown to LOVE them for long bike rides.  It’s great to put some solid food on your tummy after all of the gel and they are SO delicious.  I could eat them as a snack any day of the week, and in fact,  I certainly have!   With 160 calories and 55 mg of Sodium, they’re a great mid-ride snack!   I order mine very cheap from Uptown Cycles – you should too!

Vitamix

Though this is also a new one to the list, I can tell it’s gonna be a long time friend and staple.  I have made tons of breakfast, drinks, soup and recovery drinks with this thing already!  I just love it.

Pearl Izumi P.R.O Lobster Gloves

Since it’s winter, I figured I’d add in the only reason riding in the winter is tolerable for me below 40 degrees!  My lobster gloves are amazing, keep my hands totally toasty warm while still allowing me proper control over gears and brakes.  If you ride, and you ride in the cold, and don’t own a pair of lobster gloves, save your pennies and invest!

I think that about wraps up my “staple” items!  Happy Monday to everyone.


Yoga and Babies!

01/15/2012

Today was a great day all around.  Yesterday was a wonderful day because it ended with the birth of Brax, but I can’t lie, the day itself was pretty hectic.  I opted to make today a day of fitness, health and chilling out!

I was supposed to meet with my new swim “coach” Justin, but we had a scheduling snafu as the pool we planned to meet at didn’t open until 1 vs noon as we thought.  PS, why do some YMCA’s in Charlotte open at 12 and others at 1 on Sunday??

Nonetheless, I made my way to the Dowd Y around 12:30 as I certain it was open.  Whether I’d have to wait an hour for a lane was another issue, but luckily I hopped right in.  I had a great swim and actually ticked off a 1000 yard “PR”.  I won’t say the time because the swimmers out there would laugh, but I’m making improvements and that’s what counts!

After my swim I headed straight to my favorite yoga class at Y2 with Tanner.  I was honestly a little bit worried about swim / yoga back to back as the last time I tried that in Tanner’s class I nearly died.  This time went much better.  There is something about yoga that I just love.  Some people in the “community” are under the impression that if you are a triathlete and have limiters in a triathlon-related discipline you should spend all your training time either swimming, biking or running.  I couldn’t disagree more, but that is a discussion for another time.

What yoga provides for me is a strong core, time to work on my balance and fine motor skills, flexibility, and an amazing workout that breaks the monotony of swimming, biking and running.   I have been doing this sport consistently for 3 years now and have not had one single “injury” that has required me to take any time off training.  Yes I have aches and pains but they are all manageable.  I contribute my ability to remain injury-free partially to luck, partially to genetics, partially to just being smart, and a lot of it to yoga!

I also think yoga is great at teaching us “how to suffer”, which is a key factor in endurance sports.  When you’re in your 5th Warrior Two of the class, your quad is on fire, your shoulders are screaming and sweat is dripping off the tip of your nose – do you hold the pose or do you give into the discomfort?  Some days I give in…I 100% admit that.  Other days I am strong.  Other days I can fight the tickling of the sweat, the burning and discomfort and hold my Warrior Two proudly.

After yoga I opted to get outside and enjoy the weather.  It was nearly 60 degrees out, and I’d been inside most of the day.  I took my dogs to the park and ended up doing a 30 min run (pretty much in circles) while they ran around “chasing” me in fear that I was trying to escape the park and leave them, I think.  They were (and still are) worn out and there’s nothing cuter than a sleeping doggie….oh wait, yes there is, a sleeping BABY!

Speaking of babies, I showered up after my run and made my way to the hospital with some treats for Emily and Scott and to get some good Braxy time in!  The hospital is right around the corner which makes it that much easier for me to see him.

One day old 🙂

Hard to argue that there’s many cuter things in this world.

Brax and I snuggled like this for almost 2 hours and then I left Emily and Scott to their night.  They are all doing so well and are the happiest I’ve ever seen them (and they’re pretty happy people).  I am honestly so in love with that little boy already.  I cannot wait to watch him grow up; he is so lucky to be surrounded by so much love.

Another person I love right now is Martin Luther King – yes for all the great things he did for this country – but most especially this minute, for giving me the day off of work tomorrow!  Tomorrow will include a long run with some pretty tough mile repeats mixed in as well as lunch with one of my greatest friends, Jordan, who is also pregnant!  Surprise surprise!

I have “vowed” to try to start blogging more in 2012, and not just about races, so this is my feeble attempt.  If you would like to hear from me less, well, then don’t read 🙂


Yoga and Mountains and Non-Triathlon Training

10/17/2011

This past week has been exactly what I’ve needed!  I did whatever my little heart desired workout-wise and loved every minute of it!  I did nothing too terribly hard, other than a 50 mile mountain ride on Saturday, and my body was thankful.  I also slept at least 9 – 10 hours every night, squeezing in two 2-hour naps and a 12-hour night on Saturday!  I think my body was pretty tired to say the least.  I haven’t felt quite as rested as I did today in, literally, years.

I mean, look at those mountains!

I headed to Blowing Rock Saturday with some training buddies for a day of riding in the mountains.  It was so beautiful out, albeit very very windy on top of the mountains making the descending pretty interesting, but given were weren’t there on an “agenda” it was so nice to just ride!  There were tons of people out to see the leaves and despite being slightly annoyed with us going 6mph up the mountain when they wanted to be going 20, it was such a fun-filled atmosphere.  We went up to ride easy, but “easy” really just doesn’t exist when you’re climbing 1500 feet up the side of a mountain.  You can only peddle “so easy” before you fall down 🙂  We rode a little harder than I probably would have liked, but all in all it was such a great day!  Thanks Greg and Mike!

I rode my bike again on Saturday with Marianne, my Pain Pathways teammate/friend around the Booty Loop.  This was a ride that would have been nice to put a sign on our backs “Recovery Ride”.  We rode so easy, but it was exactly what I needed and it was great to catch up with her.  Big things for next season that I’m excited about.

What I realized the most this weekend is how much I’ve missed riding my bike.  The past few months have been so run/swim focused for me, I’ve truly missed group rides and all the fun of cycling with my friends.  After a long conversation with my wonderful coach today, we’ve decided that for the next few months, Saturday will be “my day”….my day to ride with whomever, however long, however hard or however easy my little heart desires!  I’m very much looking forward to it.

 

I have also done yoga 3 times in the last week.  I feel like a new person after just 3 classes and my goal is to continue to go 1-2 times per week through February!  Hopefully this will be me in no-time.  Well, with better hair.

I’m excited for this coming weekend.  I am going up to Chapel Hill / Raleigh area on Saturday (after a fun fill day at Carrowinds with my sister!) for the NCTS Awards on Sunday.  Stacey and I have lots of stuff planned….though most not “coach / athlete” related and I can’t wait!

I have lots of thinking to do about next year and where I see my season going…what my goals are, what my A-races (other than Worlds) are going to be, if any, and what distance(s) I will focus on.  I think we’ve pretty much decided that mid-2013 will be my next Ironman and now it’s just making my final decision on which one I’ll have to register for next year.  The selection process will be pretty strategic as discussed with Stacey and I’m actually excited to make my final decision!  There are several reasons I would like to do another Ironman…though I can’t say I have a profound overwhelming desire right now to train for that distance again.  The two most significant reasons are:

1.  I want to train for an Ironman under Stacey’s guidance…for myself, and especially for my coaching knowledge.  The more you work with different coaches being trained for different distances, the more you learn about your own coaching styles and preferences.  My previous coach was very focused on volume, sometimes to the point where I wondered if my workouts were actually hindering my performance overall, vs. making me more fit and prepared for the race.  I will be so so curious, given HOW focused on recovery Stacey is to tackle one last IM training under her coaching.

2.  Secondly, as I’ve discussed in this blog before, I think I have unfinished IM business.  As I’ve said, my best IM execution-wise, how I felt (and coincidentally, time-wise also) was my first…to which I competed un-coached and had just learned to swim 7 months prior.  My fitness, athleticism, speed, and I’d hope my swimming (though the jury is still out on that) has come a long way since then.  I was prepared physically (I think) at Louisville in 2010 to have a strong race, but I was totally shot mentally by the time the race rolled around and the cards just weren’t dealt in my favor that day.  I bounced back 2 1/2 months later and had a pretty good race at B2B considered I had hardly trained with much distance post-Louisville, but I know it wasn’t the best I can do.  So, that said, I want to pour myself into training one last time…train “smarter,” recover more strategically and see what that equates to over the longer distance.  Still a long time away which is a bit of a relief right  now 🙂

Well, that about wraps up this weeks ramblings.  I hope those paragraphs at least somewhat go together in some logical sequence because I’m not feeling like much of a blog-editor tonight.  Enjoy friends 🙂


Humbling

09/06/2011

The past few days have been nothing short of humbling.  They have included:

* my first super hard bonk in about 2 years on my bike no-less.  My bike has become my “crown jewel”, the one thing thing I can always turn to when I want to feel good and strong.  Nope.

* my first Crossfit workout to which I learned that my upper body is weak, I can’t do a ring dip, and 70 ring rows leave my arms un-extendable for (at least) 2 days thereafter (this could be longer, the jury is still out on the length of frozen, painful arm).

* my first yoga class in about 8 weeks which reminded me I need to do more yoga and stretch more because my muscles are like guitar strings.

* and an epic failure of a track workout this morning.  The anticipated set was 3x (1000 at TH/400 jog/400 at TH/400 jog/200 at TH/200 jog).  I made it through one set before succumbing to quitting (honestly not sure if I’ve ever just quit a workout in the middle), driving to the treadmill and finishing with something much easier.  It was also pouring, so I’m making myself feel better than I even attempted to do this in the rain, but truth is, I was just a slug.

This was me at the track this morning, except I wasn’t a man,my shorts were a bit longer and it wasn’t sunny .

What am I trying to take away from these tough days?

 * I am trying not to beat myself up for once in my life.  This is hard for me.  I am harder on myself than anyone has or ever will be in my life but I am working on this.

 * I am working with my coach to get to the root of the poor performances.  Friday nights light dinner attributed to Saturday’s crash and burn.  Lack of yoga has led to string muscles…easy fix, go to yoga!  Lack of sufficient strength training = inability to do insanely hard handstand pushups and wobbly ring dips.  Fix?  Do more functional strength.  I can’t quite get to the route of the track workout this morning other than the rain, yoga last night, and I think just plain mental exhaustion.  At this point, track sessions on my schedule instantly raise my stress levels – it’s hard as hell!

 * I am resting tomorrow and will move ahead Thursday hopefully feeling like a new person.

 * I am attempting to pull some positives from the last few days as well vs. focus on the negatives.  Some positives:  Our dog Parker is slowly improving and we are beyond thankful to still have him with us for now.  I think being emotional about him has led to sleepless nights and more-than-usual tiredness/stress on my body.  Secondly, I had a phenomenal swim yesterday!  I swam longer than I’ve swam since IM training and felt great the whole way through, despite my “Crossfit arms”.  My (pool) swimming is coming along nicely with my increased training.  Lastly, I ended today with a fun, fast, peaceful bike ride, by myself, in the zone, preparing for my races this weekend.  It was beautiful out and I needed some time with myself and this was just the fix.  I wish I had the time to ride my bike every single day.  I think I would be much less stressed as a person.

 In a nutshell, tomorrow off will be the most necessary part of this whole process.  I am realizing more and more how important recovery truly is in order to get quality from each workout.  Thank you Stacey for being patient with me during this very tough learning curve!  Here’s to a rest day!