Brewing » After a yoga class during a heat wave two weeks ago, I sampled some of Yoga Six’s new on-tap kombucha and was hit with a wave of nostalgia. (I brewed my own for five years before my SCOBY succumbed to mold. I was so sad that I’d killed my “pet,” and gave up on the whole project for awhile.) With a renewed commitment to making delicious, fizzy ‘booch myself, I paid Alan at Edible Alchemy a visit at the Wednesday evening Encinitas Farmer’s Market, and went home with a slippery new SCOBY, full of promise. Summer is on the horizon, and really, the beer consumption around here has gotten a little out of control. I need a healthy substitute—at least sometimes.
Training » In the weeks since the Desert Tri, something’s come back into my life that I haven’t felt in awhile: training hunger. January was bike miles and yoga and easing back in, with February and early March starting to show colorful little signs of returned fitness. “January showers bring March flowers?” One thing I simply love about this sport is how the body just remembers how to work, and responds to plain old consistency. I love how I’m suddenly somewhat comfortable in the 1:30 lane at Masters again. When I look for an explanation, all I can find is “because you’re just swimming more.” It’s such a simple fact in this sometimes complicated sport.
Running-wise, those fitness flowers are still just tiny buds. I’ve jumped back on the treadmill for a former coach’s brutal progressive hill sets, and have spend some time chasing speedier friends around the neighborhood. I’ve also been trying to focus on form after a teammate’s husband took a very tell-tale video of me running at the Desert Tri. Ouch.
On the bike, I’ve been getting back on the trainer during the week and riding with strong friends when I can (pictured below in the aftermath). Despite having to be at yoga training at 12:30 pm sharp now on Saturdays, I’ve been consistently getting up early to ride as long as I can squeeze in. I have Leslie to thank for being a major motivator on this front. She’s always game for a 7 a.m. ride start, and this past weekend, I drove to her house, and we rode three hours and ran 15 minutes (we’ve both got the Oceanside half this weekend—ack, how did that sneak up so fast?). Then, while I showered, she made me a killer green smoothie—coconut butter, people!—and veggie omelet before I had to leave for training. The food satiated me through until 6:30, when I met up with Mark at friends’ for BLT’s and wine. My friends take good care of me!
Teacher training » Many of you have been asking what I’m learning in yoga teacher training. Honestly, I don’t know where to start. This course is turning out to be yoga-meets-therapy-meets-personal-development-meets-anatomy-101. Friday nights often include catching up about our weeks, and what I can only describe as “discovery exercises” (where we do things that get us out of our comfort zone, like staring into someone’s eyes for five minutes). It’s taking me back to times I’ve been involved in a deeper community, and it’s been interesting to observe myself in that space again. (This past Friday we got a treat: a two-hour “slow flow” style yoga class to Sigur Ros and some gorgeous African folk music. I felt like I’d just come out of a dream when it ended.) Saturdays are usually posture clinic days, where we learn the names and benefits of the basic asanas, or physical postures, as well as how to guide students into them and any useful hands-on adjustments. This past Sunday we did our first practice teach, and we were all nervous. In groups of four, we each had a 30-minute slot to teach a set sequence, just as we would in the “real world.” It was both humbling and exhilarating, and went well (despite the common rookie mistake of having trouble mirroring right and left!) The feedback from my group included a number of things I strive to be as a teacher. Score! We all headed to the Solana Beach Farmer’s Market afterward to celebrate.
Little did I know that yoga philosophy would open the door to so much: how I communicate, how I treat myself and others, how I live, breathe, and move, my relationship to goals and possibilities, to the masculine and feminine, to being more truthful. That all sounds vague, but stick me on a bike saddle some Saturday and I’ll tell you the specifics.
The chest monster (aka “Gus”) » In the ol’ esophagus department, I finally listened to my specialist and started taking one of his latest prescribed drugs. I figured racing Oceanside would be a good test run, and started Ranexa, a medication for angina, about three weeks ago. So far, I’ve tried Botox (a disaster), and nitroglycerin, which made me feel light-headed, didn’t help the pain, and since it’s a tiny, super-dissolvable pill you take “as needed,” would be difficult to carry in races anyway. This latest visit, my doctor sort of looked at me, shrugged, and listed off two more we could try.
I’m growing increasingly skeptical of his “relax the chest muscles” approach, and the more research we do, the more we think it’s simply just trapped air because of my inability to burp. (True story. I’ve never been able to.) I’ve been a little nervous taking what’s essentially a heart medication, given how much I demand of that precious little organ! I haven’t had many episodes, which is pretty normal for me during “regular training,” but Oceanside this Saturday will be the real test. I’m not feeling too hopeful, however, as the other night, I had a severe episode after eating a huge burger and fries and drinking two beers. I have another appointment in a few weeks, so, as with so many areas of life right now, the mantra is, “be patient, we’ll see.”
Eating » Just before I delved into this new busy period of life, I read a lot on simplicity to prepare myself. The website Zen Habits has proved to be a useful resource in this area. Number 37 in his list of 72 ideas to simplify your life particularly appealed: “Create a simple weekly dinner menu.” Mark and I often get into the following pattern on weeknights: “You hungry?” “Yes.” “What do you feel like?” “Uh, food?” While I like our ability to improvise and communicate on the fly, I’ve always been drawn to establishing a routine or pattern. At least some of the time. So, we sat down and decided to start with a small goal: we’d plan Monday through Thursday nights’ meals and leave weekends for socializing, special projects, and spontaneity. We designated Monday salad night (to start the week out right), and Tuesdays as our own take on the ubiquitous Taco Tuesday.
And that’s as far as we got. A few weeks in we discovered that we needed to start really small, and have pretty much only stuck with the Monday and Tuesday plan. We’ve learned, though, that it works well for us. When both of us know what we’re having that night, our communication about it is a lot simpler. A text in the middle of the day now reads “I’m coming home from swimming, I’ll pick up taco shells,” instead of the multiple texts needed for the above interaction. We almost always have what we need for those two meals, and we keep it simple. And we’ve even put together some pretty creative combinations involving roasted zucchini and mushrooms, acorn squash, tempeh, barbecued chicken thighs, and of course, fish. We always have sour cream and lime juice (from the trees outside!) for a sauce, shredded cabbage, salsa, cilantro, avocado, and soft tortillas.
I’ve had to cut out some other food-related things since adding 15 hours of yoga teacher training to my plate. Things like homemade granola. But a recent discovery of this L.A.-made, simple granola at the Leucadia grocery gem Just Peachy has made me really happy. That combined with avocado season (avocado toast!) and my easy and fast Bircher muesli have made breakfasts a snap.
“Shopping” » While I do love a good grocery store wander or boutique browsing, I’m not a big fan of clothes shopping or running around looking for specific products and/or good prices. Over the past few years, we’ve become a devoted Amazon household. Yesterday I took my first foray into Vitacost.com, on Julie’s recommendation. When I got back from an easy spin this morning, there was my order! The aforementioned coconut butter, no-sugar-added SunButter (I can only find the sweetened stuff near me), black truffle oil for popcorn, Meyer’s Clean Day Lavender and Rhubarb hand soaps, teas for kombucha, and, one thing I can’t wait to try, J.R. Liggett’s Old-Fashioned Shampoo Bar. It was a whopping $3-something, and boasts as much shampoo use as a 24-ounce bottle. Triple-yay for its portable size, minimalist packaging, and natural ingredients. I can’t wait to try it.
That’s all for now! See you on the other side of Oceanside!