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Why You Should Cheer at Races

I entered my first running race the summer I turned 40. Before then, it was my own solitary activity. The first time I stood on the line at the start, I saw all these people much faster and fitter than I was, with fancy watches and bright shoes. I was intimidated and needed to use the bathroom every 7 minutes, which is a bummer because it seemed everyone else did too. But when the race started and everyone found their own pace, I found my place. It was a foggy morning up the coast, an 11K trail run. We struggled uphill on a single track. Children and people in their 70’s passed me. But I kept going because we were all in this together. I kept going because I had had the shittiest year in my life and here was an excuse to take a break from my life. The trail widened and then flattened out and the sun peaked out from the clouds to reveal a grassy wildflower field through the redwoods. The sun told be it’s going to get better, I would make it through this race and this troubled year, I would be stronger for the struggle. And then the trail pitched down, heading toward the coast. I saw the ocean through the forest and the ocean told me I was a survivor, that I would finish this race and then I DID! Maybe running isn’t your thing. Maybe racing isn’t your thing either. But cheering on others – because maybe this year has been horrible for one of them – is a way to say “You are strong! You are a survivor! YOU ARE AWESOME!” See you all at the race on Sunday.

This Yoga Studio Is Too Loud and a Little Dirty; or, Yoga at Home

I had time to do the Centering part on my AM/PM yoga video, which would take about 25 minutes. Sounded doable, but there are a lot of obstacles to becoming a beginner yogi with 2 kids, a dog, and a kitten who likes to lunge on my face from time to time.

This new yoga addiction started on our vacation to San Diego last week. Last year my sister-in-law found a great studio near the house where we were renting in Pacific Beach, and this year I decided to join her. My hip was starting to bug me, so I backed off the running and dove into Sanskrit and candlelight. Incredibly, I got hooked on Vinyasa.

My kids respond well to doing yoga with me. They grab one of the mats, and when they realize they can’t possible share, one child naturally gravitates onto mine. I work around this. As I started the basic, I’ve learned not to correct Owen’s prayer pose or his downward facing dog. Instead, I work on centering and breathing for myself. Eventually they get bored and move into their bedroom. Apparently their next activity is building block towers and then knocking them all down. Meanwhile, the kitten is placing chase with the dog. Nuki the kitten dives under and over furniture while Mabel the dog bounces back and forth across the room licking Nuki’s fur when she catches him. It’s a fun game that might last 25 minutes. I hope.

Breathe deeply and naturally. Down dog, into Warrior 1. Oh, it seems Amelia, 3 and a half years old and naked, has taken a seated position underneath my warrior pose. Breathe and ground your feet into the earth. Blocks crash. Amelia now has the kitten and is stuffing him under a pillow. Breathe and come into wide stance, hands on the floor. Let go, breathe. Blocks crash. The phone rings, telemarketer from Alabama. Staff pose, breathe and stretch. Relaxation, corpse pose, sinking, letting go.

“Ow, Amelia!!! You just stepped on my neck. That really hurt!!!” Crying, chaos, door slams.

The yoga video finishes, and I feel much better, more centered somehow. I’m not sure it was a good idea to eat 2 tacos before I did it, though.