Awesome article alert: “Sisters of the ‘Yogic’ Yam: bell hooks and the Yoga in Self-Recovery” by Sariane Leigh

I didn’t see this article back when it came out about 2 years ago, but it is definitely still relevant. You all know I love yoga, self-care and self-recovery, and making those things accessible. Well, I am not the one to speak on some of these experiences, but Sariane Leigh, a.k.a. Anacostia Yogi, does so and does so beautifully. I found her article Sisters of the “Yogic” Yam: bell hooks and the Yoga in Self-Recovery (a guest post on The Feminist Wire) while searching for a different article regarding renowned feminist scholar bell hooks, and just had to share. Leigh embodies a fitness and wellness philosophy that I strive for every day – one that is not about punishment or strict competition, but one that is focused on healing, self-love, and nourishment (physical and emotional/spiritual).

As if her beautiful work and impressive bio aren’t enough, Ms. Leigh has also compiled a list of curvy yogis to follow on Instagram! It’s like she knew I needed more curvy fitness on my feed 🙂

Peace, sweat and love,

G

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Tough Mudder recap

Hello!

As promised, FINALLY here is the story of How I Earned My Orange Headband and officially became a Tough Mudder.

I “swam” through waist-deep mud, crawled through dark tunnels, and was electrocuted in the head. With a smile on my face!

So let’s back up. If you’ve been following this blog, you know that I have been training for TM. Well, Sunday the 24th of August was the big day! It was the second day of “Tough Mudder Great Northeast” (TM events are huge and usually take place over the course of an entire weekend) and my friend Tom and I drove up with my family for the race challenge.

Still clean pre-race!

Still clean pre-race!

Full of nervous excitement at the start line!

Full of nervous excitement at the start line!

The New England Mudder this year was held in Westbrook, ME. Oddly enough, part of it took place on a doctored-up golf course (and by doctored-up I meant post-apocalyptic). Tom said it was significantly less hilly as a result (most other TM’s are held on ski slopes and the like), but the footing was actually much worse. He was right there – the hills were not too extreme (though my hill workouts DEFINITELY paid off in this endurance event!) but a good part of the course was actually a series of hiking trails (used for snowmobiling in the winter, I believe). Those parts of the course were very steep, rocky, and irregular – definitely not very conducive to running. We hiked those parts of the course, as did most people. A few ran past us, but the possibility of easy injury dissuaded us from following suit. That said, the first half or so of the race was definitely more suited for running. Out of the total course, about 10.3 miles (TM events are between 10 and 10.3 miles), we estimated that we ran about 6 or so. The rest we hiked or were, of course, on one of TM’s infamous obstacles.

Trying not to think about the thick mud coating the inside of my compression shorts D:

Trying not to think about the thick mud coating the inside of my compression shorts D:

The obstacles. Oh, the obstacles. There were over 20 of them, and certainly none of them were a piece of cake. The ones that I found most challenging were, predictably, the ones that required the most upper body strength. Though I did my best to work my upper body during my training, I think that there was realistically only so much I could do as a female and also in a limited time frame. Obstacles like Glory Blades – walls angled towards you that you had to scale – and Pole Dancer – parallel bars that you had to shimmy across with your hands over a mud pit – really challenged me. Pole Dancer and Funky Monkey – ascending monkey bars over a pool of cold, muddy water – were, frankly, more difficult than I had anticipated. I simply didn’t have the arm strength for them. Though I ultimately fell off both, isn’t that kind of the point? Despite the fact that I wasn’t able to “ace” them, so to speak, I am very proud to say that I did complete every obstacle, even if it was knee-deep in mud.

Candid shots from the course.

Candid shots from the course.

Most of the race, though, was about endurance, lower body, and core strength – which are luckily strengths of mine! I am very much slow and steady, which is exactly what is needed for this kind of event. That said, Tom and I still managed to finish in 3 ½ hours – an hour less than his time at his last TM! And 3 ½ hours also accounts for time spent waiting for obstacles, including traffic at one accidental mud pit that had become essentially impossible to cross without emergency volunteers and rope installations.

It’s an unpopular opinion, but I actually really enjoyed the obstacles that tested mental game the most. Yeah, the infamous Arctic Enema (a giant ice bath and you have to plunge into – and, yes, swim under a barrier in) wasn’t comfy. But I left it feeling oddly great. Yes, I probably am the only one, but it felt awesome to have done this physically and mentally challenging thing, this CRAZY thing, and did it with a smile on my face. That kind of endurance, that grit that Tough Mudder is notorious for testing, is really what I love.

Cheering Tom on as he did the "alums only" supplementary obstacles.

Cheering Tom on as he did the “alums only” supplementary obstacles.

At the end of that crazy 3 ½ hour, 10+ mile and 20+ obstacle challenge, I felt like I had 130% earned that Dos Equis! My darling family was there to cheer me throughout the whole race, and of course I couldn’t have done it without my dear teammate. Neither of us can wait to do it next year, and this time with a big team, we hope! I collected my swaggy technical Under Armor finisher shirt with a giant goofy grin on my face.

Muddy and scraped up, but grinning ear to ear!

Muddy and scraped up, but grinning ear to ear!

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Immediately after the event, TM sent out an optional survey that would allow participants to earn a heavy discount on a new TM ticket…

…So now I am already signed up for a 2015 event!

Peace, sweat and love,

G

I miss you all!

I’ve been desperately busy this week starting another part-time summer job as a hostess in a seaside restaurant (beach time before work hopefully!), but I should get a little more breathing time soon to write a review of the 5k Foam Fest that I am participating in TOMORROW! Very, very excited. Should be a really fun time!

Peace, sweat and love, 

G

Feelings + race recap

Hey friends!

Super excited to say that I am DONE with my finals and, by extension, my undergraduate career. Feeling a bit weird about that. It hasn’t sunk in that I’m graduating in a week – maybe because I don’t really want to think about it. It’s honestly just strange, and I can’t really feel anything about it right now. This is highlighted by the fact that I don’t know exactly where I’ll be come fall, so I’m kind of just generally anxious.

BUT, per usual I need to get out of my own head and calm down. As you all know, I’ve already been accepted to BU Law as part of the class of 2017 , but here’s the wrinkle I maybe haven’t included: I’ve also been put on “reserve” at Cornell Law.

I really, really want to go to Cornell. I will get an update by the end of this month regarding my status: accept, deny, or further wait-listed. Knowing that I will find out any day now is killing me. I’m scared every time I open my inbox (not to mention that I check it obsessively). I even had a dream about it last night. Ugh.

But the other part of me knows that these worries come from a place of immense privilege, and that I need to stop and count my many blessings. I have to fight to remind myself to not play this game, because no one ever wins.

How do I fight this? Well, my blog, in part! This blog is representative of that desire to free myself from the (often self-imposed) shackles of my perfectionism. Peace.Sweat.Love is a mantra of sorts – hey, it works for me!

And so that’s why, to me, making a joint post about law school/future anxieties and a race recap makes sense. It’s not random – to me those things are connected. When I was running my 10k this past weekend and my Nike+ kept telling me my pace, I felt crushed that it wasn’t as fast as I wanted it to be. It was so distracting, in fact, that I almost forgot that my only job was to finish and to have fun. Why was I doing that, getting mad at myself for not running a PR? How on earth does that make sense? It’s moments like this when my old demons creep up and try to get in my head and erase everything I’ve taken so much time to (re)learn. Miles 2-4 I was in a terrible funk despite the fact that I was running this race with my loving S.O. and a dear mutual friend. Finally, mile 5 I started to get it. Or adrenaline kicked in, or I was just less grumpy because it wasn’t as hilly. We crossed the finish line together, and I had to remind myself that that was what I came for. By focusing too much on the end result, I ultimately forgot to stay present and cost myself some of the joy I could’ve gotten out of the experience.

Yeah, I definitely didn’t get a PR during this 10k like I did with my last 5k. But I think this forced me to address some important and consistent underlying fears I have. And like a lot of other people who find exercise to be a healing influence in their lives, sometimes I just have to physically tire myself out before my stubborn mind is willing to tackle my fears.

And if that doesn’t work for you, you can always laugh at how freaking ridiculous you look in your race photos next to your adorable friends and girlfriends. Look. at. my. face! LOL. Clearly I need to take myself waaaaayyy less seriously and take time to smile more often! Hopefully my induction into the Sweat Pink family will make that even easier 🙂

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PS: Check the “Races I’ve Run” page in a bit for a more detailed run-down of my experience at the Newton 10k!

Peace, sweat and love,

G