I Need to Relax. And Kurt Loder is 70. 

I’m still reeling from discovering the following:

Kurt Loder is 70.Kurt Loder is 70

My InsideTracker InnerAge is 60.3.InnerAge

I look 35 according to that silly “How Old?” app.  Bless it’s tiny little electronic heart. 

GOOD. GRIEF. In case you missed it, read why at 43, I am really 60.3 years old but look like I am in my 30s. Read my eye-opening InsideTracker review and Big Reveal here. You’ll see why I am in a tizzy. It’s a doozy. Ugh. I’ve got a stomach ache just thinking about it. If that app told me I looked 75, I’m sure you would have heard the sound of computers crashing and a howling wail coming from me one million miles away. It wouldn’t have been pretty. 

Serenity Now! The Norwich Inn and Spa.

In light of those harrowing results and in celebration of Tina’s First Boston Marathon, Tina and I decided to check our tired stressed out asses into The Norwich Inn and Spa last Sunday with rejuvenation in mind. Or minimally with sitting STILL in mind.  And when I say “checked  in” I mean a full on 12 hours of padding around in white fluffy robes. Complete with yoga, steam room, sauna, Jacuzzi, and a delicious-wine-soaked lunch. Oh and we got treatments too. Two anti-goddamn-aging facials. One for each of us. (No. I didn’t do a double sesh. I’m not Magda for Pete’s Sake.) And two glorious body wraps which were other-worldly. Ahhhhh. What a day! I felt like we emerged younger, and visibly firmer.  There is nothing. I repeat NOTHING like spending the day with your best friend. It is a glorious treat. One that will occur far more regularly if I have anything to do with it. I know I won’t have to twist Tina’s arm. Like at all. She was booking the next Spa Day while we were still paying for the first. A total day of relaxation at a gorgeous spa with my BFF! Bonus X 1000.

  This was the first time Tina and I did yoga together. And honestly? I could hear her eyes rolling. My girl is NOT a yogi. I’m not either. But at least I happen to enjoy it. T-Bone? Ummm. I’m not so sure. I’m working on her. We couldn’t make eye contact for fear of being called into the Spa Director’s Office and being de-robed. THAT’S IT. HAND IN YOUR ROBES , YOU GIGGLING, CHILDISH, INFLEXIBLE COWS.  Thankfully, we were allowed to keep our robes for 11 more hours. Crisis averted. 

I have been doing yoga a LOT lately. For me that translates to three times a week which is three times more than I ever have in my entire life. I am loving it.  I leave and feel more calm, centered, grounded and open. Un-Stuck, if you will. I feel like my stride is also less stuck. It’s lengthened. What I am really hoping is that the sense of calm I feel in class trickles into my everyday life. Shutting off the “noise” even for that one hour is helping me learn how to shut out the stress that creeps into the daily grind. It’s also helping me wind down. And lo and behold, sleep is returning. If I want that god forsaken #InnerAge to decrease, I need to work a bit on stress and sleep. So my insides match the outside. There’s more work to be done, but I need to approach it piece by piece. Baby steps, Colby. 

Or my head will explode…

we won’t have faces to anti-age…

and we’ll never go to the spa again. 

Do you practice yoga? Are you a Rubber Band or The Tin Man? How do you tune out the daily noise? Day at the Spa or Girls Night Out? GO! 

Advertisements

Let it Float!

20140524-004731.jpg

I Surrendered to the Float.
The what?
FLOAT.
The Float.

As in floating in a sea of super salty warm water. Talk about buoyant. Archimedes would be STOKED. Float as in sensory deprivation chamber. I realize this sounds like something straight out of the Island of Doctor Moreau, but trust me. Not so. I wasn’t greeted by a New Age Monkey With Two Asses burning sage or anything, but I was completely unaware of what I was about to experience. No worries though. Being the stressed out, black eyed, broken, tapering, neurotic runner that I had morphed into, I figured it would do me some good before the marathon. And? It totally did.

Floating itself is not new. John C. Lily, a neuroscientist, developed a sensory deprivation chamber back in 1954 to determine what kept the brain going. Were the sources of energy for the brain biological or dependent on outside stimuli? So. If you took away allll stimuli, would the brain go to sleep? Na-nights Brain. Enter the sensory deprivation chamber. By the 70s people had been doing research into the benefits of floating and determined that quieting all of the outside noise, created a very low stress environment. Low cortisol + high dopamine and endorphin levels = a very peaceful, calm, low stress Colby person.

Is there a word more relaxing than relaxation? If so, insert it HERE. It was the deepest sense of peace I had ever felt. The water itself is kept at the average skin temperature (93.5° F), which allows you to lose track of your body. Literally. And the water is so salty, that you simply can not sink. You float. Your head too. Easily. You completely loose concept of where your body ends and the water begins. The float room is completely sound proof and, when you turn off the twinkle lights, it’s pitch black. Completely dark. But not claustrophobic. At all. No gravity, no touch, no sound, and no sight. Just you. And your noisy thoughts. Which shock of all shocks, I was able to silence. Shit. They were gagged and bound by the time I was done.

People float for a bunch of reasons one of which is to relieve stress. {Tapering Runner waves arms wildly, screaming MEEE!}. For this tweaking runner? It was the most complete relaxation I have ever felt. It’s hard to describe the feeling. You lose all concept of yourself. It’s like you go to this other space. Where? I’m not sure. But I hope it was to The Land of Kick Ass Marathons. Very out of body. But peaceful. Not creepy. Or constricted. Move one finger? And you have awareness of you body. But it quickly fades. After a while it feels like your toeing the awake vs. asleep line. Which is that wonderful transition before Snoozeville. And it’s glorious.

I started out like this.

20140524-004800.jpg

Stressed about the marathon. My training. My tight back. My scarred, healing face. The whole shebang. Then I really tried. I was making the most of this. I visualized the run. Focused on the miles ticking away. Focusing on the last 6. My breath. Then 3. Then 1. And that’s when I couldn’t tell where I ended and the world began. It was beyond unplugged. It was this profound sense of calm and confidence that washed over me.

I ended like this.

20140524-004848.jpg

And today? After driving over 5 hours, 1.5 of which was at a dead stop in traffic, picking up my packet and having a nice Heady Topper with my Other Half?

I’m as cool as a salty cucumber.
No wait. Make that a pickle. 🙂

Have you ever Floated before? Had you ever heard of it before this swell blog post?

2013 Goals – the Recap

goaldreamsimage

Back in January, I set a bunch of goals for myself in 2013. Time to review and see how did before putting a list together for 2014. Here’s my original list and my progress…

1. Run a marathon. Check! Marine Corps Marathon on October 27. One of the most amazing experiences of my life. Cannot wait until my next marathon.

2. Ride the Pan Mass Challenge. Done. Incredible. Inspirational. Life-changing. Counting the days (11!) until registration begins for PMC 2014.

3. Do yoga regularly. Epic fail. Time to accept that I just don’t like it enough to do it regularly and move on. I’m a person who would love to love yoga, but I am not a person who actually loves yoga. There is a difference. A big difference. I’m sure I’ll do it from time to time and I do enjoy the stretching, but “regularly” and “yoga” just ain’t gonna happen for me.

4. Find another pick-up soccer league, since my old one seems to have dissolved. My old one started up again over the summer. Unfortunately, due to PMC & marathon training, and my fear of injuries (I sprained my ankle pretty badly during one of these games a few years ago), I never made it to a game. Next year!

5. Become more fit overall and take care of my body. Eh, I did ok on this one. Definitely cross-trained more – training for the PMC helped in that regard. Definitely stretched more, but still not enough. Started weight training and then dropped it. Repeatedly. Hope to keep making progress on this one in 2014.

6. Find a 5K that is conducive (i.e. does not have a completely crowded, bottlenecked first half-mile that all of the “fun” races seem to have) to me breaking a 7:30 pace. Then actually doing it. Never broke the 7:30 pace. Waaah! Didn’t run too many 5K’s this year, because my race schedule was full of longer and different types of races. Fastest 5K was at a 7:37 pace. Did run a 2-mile run portion of a Duathlon at a 7:25 pace, but never quite reached this goal. 2014!

7. More race goals: try at least three 5K’s or half marathons that I have not run before. Finish the &*^%)$!%# Fairfield Half with my head held high (and hopefully without the minor heatstroke). Done and Done. Ran Boston’s Run to Remember Half Marathon, Vermont Covered Bridges half Marathon, Guilford’s Frosty 5K and Boston Volvo’s Thanksgiving 5K, all of which were new ones for me. Also competed in two duathlons, which was an entirely new type of race for me. Fairfield Half was hot & steamy, but I ran a smart race and finished with my head held as high as I could hold it after 13.1 miles of misery.

8. Volunteer at a race to pay it forward for all of those who have handed out water and rung cowbells for me in past races. Done. Volunteered at Boston’s Run to Remember. Great experience. Volunteering at a race needs to become an annual goal for me.

9. Try Pilates. Or cross-country skiing. Or both. Something new, in any event. Never got to Pilates, but I did try cross-country skiing, and loved it. I also did my first burpee. Didn’t love that as much, but obviously didn’t hate it too much, either, since I accepted the Spartan Race 30 Day Burpee challenge and went on to do 900 more.

10. Make headway with Colby on our idea for a 5K race for the disabled. Would be great if we could actually pull it together in 2013; if not, would like to have something in the works for 2014. We have not gotten around to this. Keeping it on the list for 2014.

And there is a year of goals in review. I met some, didn’t even come close to others, and some remain a solid work in progress. Truth be told, if I had met them all, I would have felt disappointed, not satisfied. What’s left to do if you meet all of your goals???

Off to work on my list for 2014!

Goalimage

Goooooooal(s)!

Wishing Everyone All Good Things in 2013!

Wishing Everyone All Good Things in 2013!

So, I’m not into New Year’s Resolutions. Way too impatient to wait until December 31 to change something if I think it needs fixing. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, but for Pete’s sake, if it is broke, why wait?!?  For me, making a resolution to effect a change come January 1 is akin to people planning to start a diet on Monday…if you have to put off a change to an artificial date, isn’t it kind of doomed from the start? I guess that the dawn of a new year is a powerful motivator for some people and implementing changes on Jan 1 works for them. Just not for me.

That said, I think that Jan 1 is a great time to set some goals for the year ahead (or, “goooooals,” as we soccer fans like to say). I have a bunch, and thought I’d list the sports related ones here.

By the time the ball drops on December 31, 2013, I hope to have:

1. Run a marathon. Good Lord, it is time. Even my non-running, most-likely-to-be-adversely-impacted by me having a marathon training schedule husband thinks so. With his total support, I’m going to run a marathon in 2013.

2. Ride the Pan Mass Challenge. February 7, 2014 will mark the 25th anniversary of my beloved husband’s final treatment for cancer. He’s doing great and I can’t think of a more special way to lead in to his 25th anniversary celebration than by raising funds for cancer research while riding with some of my dearest friends.

3. Do yoga regularly. Would like to practice it at least once a week.  if I can actually clear my mind once, so much the better.

4. Find another pick-up soccer league, since my old one seems to have dissolved.

5. Become more fit overall and take care of my body. Do enough core work that I will be able to tell whether I actually have abdominal muscles. Do more weight training – get my back and arms up to par with my lower half. Get more massages, use my foam roller more and continue to stretch daily.

6. Find a 5K that is conducive (i.e does not have a completely crowded, bottlenecked first half-mile that all of the “fun” races seem to have) to me breaking a 7:30 pace. Then actually doing it.

7. More race goals: try at least three 5K’s or half marathons that I have not run before. Finish the &*^%)$!%# Fairfield Half with my head held high (and hopefully without the minor heatstroke).

8. Volunteer at a race to pay it forward for all of those who have handed out water and rung cowbells for me in past races.

9. Try Pilates.  Or cross-country skiing. Or both.  Something new, in any event.

10. Make headway with Colby on our idea for a 5K race for the disabled. Would be great if we could actually pull it together in 2013; if not, would like to have something in the works for 2014.

I love this list. It’s challenging, but doable and really makes me look forward to seeing what I can accomplish in 2013.

Cheers to all and may you all meet your goals and keep your resolutions, whatever they may be!

A Yogi, I am Not.

This, I will never be.

This, I will never be.

This is more like it.

This is more like it.

I am bad at yoga.

Yes, yes I am. I took an early morning yoga class yesterday because my lower legs felt like they might snap off at any second. Running seemed a bad idea. I thought that 75 minutes of stretching and low impact strength work would help. And it did. I left feeling looser, less sore in the legs and much of my tightness was gone. I can actually walk normally again.  Plus, I got a killer upper body workout.

But, boy, am I bad at yoga. I understand that those who are good at yoga will say that you cannot be “bad” at yoga, by definition of the practice. But since I am not part of that elite group, I will say it again. I am really, really bad at yoga. I am so bad at yoga that I don’t even believe in the mantra that one cannot be bad at yoga.

There are the obvious external cues that I am bad at yoga -the fact that I cannot touch my toes, spread my legs into a “V” or even complete the precursor to the precursor to the precursor to a headstand. But I realized yesterday that it is on the inside that I am truly a disaster.

It started when the Yogi told us to concentrate on breathing. I can’t breathe properly when I have to think about breathing. I never think about breathing unless I am in the final stages of labor. I thought it was an instinctive function that just happened at regular intervals. I run, walk, spin, bike, etc. and never think about breathing. It just happens. So when I sit and they tell me to focus on my breathing, I get all screwed up. Am I too fast? Too slow? Too deep? Too shallow? I’m supposed to do it at my own pace? What is my pace? I didn’t know there was a pace? Once I start thinking about it too much, I start stutter breathing and begin to feel lightheaded. I wonder whether maybe the Yogi is screwing with me because she senses that I don’t actually believe in the mantra that one cannot be bad at yoga.

Then Yogi tells us to clear our minds. Big mistake. I am an active thinker and my mind goes a mile a minute on a slow day. Nothing makes me more anxious than being asked to clear my mind. How do you clear your mind? If you’re thinking about clearing your mind, doesn’t it become a mind full of thoughts about clearing your mind? How can a mind be empty – isn’t that a sign of death? I can’t stop focusing on the fact that my mind is extremely full instead of clear and I miss the transition from cobra to downward dog. Damn, now I’m lightheaded, in the middle of an existential crisis and completely out of step with the rest of the class.

Next Yogi tells us it is time to ”let go of all thoughts other than focusing on your own path.” Huh? WHAT PATH???? I know of no path. I do know that the music is now off and I really can’t keep my mind clear of random thoughts amidst the deafening silence. And I have no idea what or where the path is. So I do what any subpar yoga student in Fairfield County, CT would do -I start to count the number of Lululemon clothes that are being worn by the Real Yoga People in the class. Lululemon is quite popular here. There is even a store nearby. I may be the only woman in town not to own a slimming, stylish Lululemon workout outfit, due to the fact that I am really frugal when it comes to clothes I know I will only wear to sweat in (I don’t mind paying extra for quality, but never for fashion; I’m a born and bred Bostonian). Lululemon clothes have never showed up in my local Marshall’s, so I don’t own any. Trust me, if they ever make an appearance at a discount store, I will be all over them. They really are cute. I’m just cheap. By the way, I begrudge no one who wants to spend their money on Lululemons. We all boost the economy in our own ways. I like Le Creuset cookware, for example.

In case you were wondering, out of a class of 14, 10 people were wearing clothes from Lululemon. That means that there were only three horribly unfashionable yoga students other than myself who were Lululemon-less. And some people were wearing both Lululemon tops and bottoms, so of course, I had to start calculating how much their outfits cost – I’m guessing somewhere between $150-$200. Not too shabby. My black capris and T-shirt from Target all but blushed.

Once I’m done counting Lululemon logos, I tally up the instructor’s tattoos (7). I start to sweat a little thinking that if she possesses any sort of 6th sense, she is going to kick my Target-clad sit bones right out of class (Yes, she was sporting Lululemon, too). I can’t even make eye contact with her, which is good because I think I’m supposed to be looking at my chakra anyway.

It only goes downhill from there, spiritually speaking. I all but solved the issues surrounding the fiscal-cliff, mentally finished my Christmas shopping and planned out this weekend’s meals, but I never once had a clear mind. Not for one restful second. And it’s a bummer, too, because otherwise, the class was a raging success: the stretches and poses were really good and very challenging for me. I’m sore (in a good way) and about as loose as I get. Is it possible to do yoga class even if you cannot open your mind (Or is it close your mind, if you are trying to shut off thoughts? Open or closed? Which is it? I can’t do either.)? Am I allowed to continue if I think of it simply as my “stretching and strengthening” class? Or is that like attending a Church service just because you like the music? Am I just wasting everyone’s time if I can’t focus on the path (and I repeat, “WHAT FREAKIN’ PATH?”)?

I do want to start attend class regularly. I think that my body needs me to start attending class regularly. I think my mind could use a little yoga conversion, as well, though I’m afraid I just might not be capable of it. Still, even for the physical benefits alone, yoga would be a great addition to my regimen. But my heartrate goes up just thinking about the fact that I know I’m a total imposter and one of the Yogis is going to catch on to me someday. I think I’m just going to have to gamble on them being too Zen to actually call me out on it, because damn, that stretching felt good.