4 Steps to Avoiding Post Race Depression

For a number of reasons unique to my disaster of a run own marathon experience, I was heartbroken after the Lifetime Miami Marathon.  However, it is widely known that many athletes (this includes yogis) experience some post competition/event depression. (Yes, there are yoga asana competitions worldwide and recently in the US – another post/another time).  There are number of ways to address this.  Some great tips can be found in this article by Chris McCormack of Triathlete Magazine. 

Four steps to help with the hollow feeling after intense often emotional training and race day outcome include:

Rest -1 to 2 weeks post race. Chill out.  Take a yoga class with friends.  Hope on a bike or go for a casual jog on a trail that ends at a bar where cold beer flows.  Work out socially without guilt.  No pressure.

Recharge – 3 – 4 weeks out.  Start mentally planning for a next event.  Work out only 60% of your A game.

Reset – 4 to 6 weeks after.  Go back to structured, trackable training.

Rebuild 6 weeks or more – Track towards your new goal with renewed energy, good health and motivation.

I think this is a great footprint for recovering from a number of major life events.  Recognize where you are, honor it and contract amnesia.  The best of the best athletes and life performers have short-term memory.  They stay present and gain energy from what is exactly real and right in front of them.  So, so yogic.

Besides the typical post race let-down, I was dealing major disappointment over how things turned out.  I was strong.  I trained with focus.  I was surprising myself by advancing my pace.  Simply put, it wasn’t may day.  Besides the acute pain in my foot/leg, there was some pride involved as I shuffled onward at a snail’s pace to finish.

So, so many good things happened however to make this race certainly one of my most memorable and maybe one day – a favorite.

1.  The phone call from my husband less than a minute after I crossed the finish line.  He had been following me through text alerts and knew something had gone wrong.  I did not cry once during the race as my body snarled along – but the sound of his voice released it all.  Best.  Phone call. Ever.

2.  This text from another friend.  I saved it.

Larry Miami Text1

3.  The vegan meal and fine wine shared with favorite people.  God it felt good to be alive and so unconditionally loved my sisters who gave me their race.  Never.  Left.  My.  Side.  So blessed, am I.

4.  The constant support from my soul sister in Colorado.  She is my ‘move-a-body’ friend.  Forever.

I am rebooting – moving from rest to recharge.

I am a yogi and a runner.

Source:  www.hellobeautiful.com

I have selective short term memory.  What marathon?

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I am dilated to about 4

Like birth stories, I never tire of race stories.  Ever.  I love your gory details of sweat and push and finish.  I want all of it – how was the labor, the big day prep and your spouse?  How did your body and its functions feel?  Take your time, tell me all of it – I have a glass of wine and you have my full attention.  Don’t leave out a thing.

Be careful, if you are a runner or a parent and you come over for happy hour the conversation just may gravitate here.

Not that I am assuming you are as riveted by such a thing or that you have a particular fancy for my stories but if you are at all connected to the ultimate push you might appreciate that I am dilated to about a 4.  I am giving birth to my third marathon in 3 days.  It’s a bit of a long labor but much more fun than the one did for him.

Nickatbat_thumb.jpgAt 8 pounds 13 ounces it felt like he came out this size.  So worth it.  So love my boy.  I learned the hard way that drugs, labor, and me don’t mix so I switch things up and had a mid wife deliver my next 2.

My first marathon was a bust.  Horrible feeling, injured, sick (recovering from pneumonia) but I did it.  It took a very, very, long time but in some ways it was my best one.  It didn’t let anything stop me.  And I gave birth to this.

My fist marathon.  Felt like I had popped out a 26.2 pound baby.  But I had her waiting for me after she rocked her 4th half marathon.  My blessing of a friend since we were 4.  I love her so much.  I wish Dawn could come to Miami.  My family drove 2 hours for the day.  I am so blessed I want to cry.

And cry I did when I  had her:

KathleenpitchingBaby #2.  She came out fierce.  I love her so much.  Worth the labor – not nearly as tough as #1.  I was relaxed and one under my belt.  Just like marathon #2.  Still tough but easier, more fun and I had him to run me in.

That’s not the Incredible Hulk in green.   That’s my incredible husband.  He risked shame and entered the marathon as a bandit at Mile 19 and ran me home.  Sounds like baby delivery.

And the third one was so sweet.  The baby, the delivery without drugs and the afterglow.  Sweet baby, Jane.

Jane10k_thumb.jpg

I am hoping marathon #3 is as smooth.  Dilating to 4 has been a little rough as I have a very sudden onset of the dreaded PF (plantar fasciitis)  but I have the assistance of a most incredible running midwife PT.  An ultra runner herself, she has magic hands and words to boot.  When I thought I was going to give up and require drugs during baby delivery #3, my midwife said:

I know 3 things, Clair.  This is going to hurt.  You can do this.  And you will have a baby in 15 minutes.

Amy said almost the same thing about marathon #3.  She said we can deal with the pain.  The reaction to it is just a mind game.  You will bag another marathon in 3 days and 26.2 miles.  I love her.  And I believe her.

3 babies.  After Sunday, 3 marathons.  No more babies.  God willing many more races.  Thinking about a big, big, boy.  50K.

See you on the other side.  Florida, here I come.

Yoga and Endurance: Interview with an Ironman

Shut Up and Run! , says she almost 365 days a year through her insanely popular, funny, inspiring and often irreverent blog of the same name.  She’s a wife, mother, social worker, certified running coach, marathoner, blogger extraordinaire  and as of Nov 1 – Beth Risdon is an Ironman.
I saw it.
photo
Clair, Beth and Erika – now even more bonded!
It was an Unbelievable, Life-changing experience.  For Beth and all the athletes.  For spectators/cheerleaders like Erika and me.  Witnessing the true grit and will of the human spirit (especially from someone you adore) during an Ironman was just awesome.  I dare you not to get super inspired by these super heroes.  I am in awe.  I want some of the Kool Aid.
If you’ve stopped by MarryMeYoga like, ever (Thank you!) you might know that Beth of Shut Up and Run fame  is a dear friend who agreed to let me pick her brain about Yoga, training for endurance sports and her approach to getting it all done –  Ironman – the granddaddy of endurance.
Yogi’s, marathoners, triathletes, health aspirants and lovers of life – I hope you enjoy this Interview with an Ironman.
image
Beth, You are an  accomplished tri athlete with drive like I’ve never seen.  You stay as fit  as ever even when you aren’t training for a specific event. Over time, where has  Yoga fit in to all that? 
For years, like the past 15  years, yoga has been an integral part of my workout routine. I always saw  it as a treat I gave to my body. A time to slow down, to think, to not be  so crazed and manic. For someone like me who tends to be very “Type-A”, yoga  forces me to calm the eff  down. 
Here’s Beth calming the eff down:
BethWarrior2
Whereas you have run impressively in a number  of high-profile events like the Boston Marathon and participated in triathlons,  relays, and cycling events galore (not to mention a 21-mile run with Dean  Karnazes)  I want to focus on your recent Ironman finish in Florida.   I followed your blog to keep up with your training schedule.  Wow!   Will you comment on the overall physical demands of Ironman  training? 
It wasn’t as bad and grueling as I expected. I am still not sure  why. I came into training with a decent foundation as I had just run a  marathon. Yet, still, I ramped up from training 6-7 hours per week, to  doing 12-17 hours per week of swimming, biking and running. For me, the key  to not falling apart was sleeping well, good nutrition and time management.  And wine. Yes, there were days I cried because the workouts were really  long. But, for the most part my body really loved the challenge and the variety.   
And now your family.  I know you are a  passionate wife, mother, and friend.  How did you prepare Ken and the kids  and others you spend time with for the time commitment of this undertaking? 
We talked about it in the beginning – how I was going to need for  them to understand I might be tired and how they might have to pitch in more  than normal. I made it my absolute priority to not let my training  adversely affect my family. This meant early morning workouts, doing family  things when I would have preferred to nap and letting some small things go. The  house wasn’t always its cleanest, and our dinners involved lots of short  cuts. But my marriage survived and Ken even told me he thought I did a good job  of balancing it all. Again, time management and planning are key  elements. That said, I am a huge believer that  my kids need to see me taking time for myself and my goals. It can’t always be  about them.
Beth and her 2 awesome children:
[photo%255B6%255D.jpg]
And now your job and your writing.  How  the heck did you fit everything in? 
I make a list at the beginning of each week that includes all  work deadlines, training sessions, appointments, etc. I break it down per day.  There is no magic answer. I don’t mess around. I just do it. There was little  time for reading books, socializing and other things, but I met all of my  obligations. 
Let us in to your heart and mind for a  second.  I described you to friends of mine as one with the heart of a  champion.  Will you comment on the mental and emotional aspects of  training.  
It’s simple. I do not entertain the thought of giving up. I do not  give myself the choice to NOT do a workout. There is no excuse (with the  exception of being injured or sick) that is good enough to keep me from my  training. It is a decision that a person makes. I think people make motivation  and discipline a very complicated process. It is not.  You simply have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable and  realizing it won’t kill you.
Do you see aspects of Yoga in any of  that? 
Absolutely. Yoga teaches you to be strong in mind and  spirit. It all goes together.  
Did you have any specific visualization of  meditative aspects to your training – especially as race day approached? 
Yes. Mostly I visualized myself being in my lowest low  mentally and physically and what I would tell myself to get out of that space.  It usually involved telling myself that things would not necessarily get worse.  It also involved staying in the present. With the Ironman distance, you can  easily doom yourself by looking at the day as a 140.6 miles to cover and 13  hours of constant movement. The key is to only accept what is in  front of you. Okay – now I am going to swim for an hour and a half. Now I’m on  the bike. I am going to ride for 20 miles and see how I feel. You have to break  it up into sections that your mind can accept. No one should go into an  Ironman saying “I am now going to swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run a  marathon!” It’s simply too overwhelming.
Beth accepting what’s in front of her – not a bad view!
BethMeditating 
What’s next?  Thoughts on your Yoga  going forward??? 
I’ve got the LA Marathon coming up in a few weeks and  I’m hoping there will be another Ironman for me this year. I’m also planning my  first ultra marathon trail race (50K) in September. I’d like to bring yoga back  into my fitness regime. I do believe it feeds the body and soul in a  way that nothing else does.  
So many treasures to ponder, Beth.  Thanks for letting us in to an Ironman’s lair.
My biggest take away is the time management piece.  Writing things down, organizing – sticking to the plan.  Let the people who count in on your goals and heart’s desire.  Be honest, own where you are.  Inspire others to really live.  I know Beth has done that for me as an athlete and as a friend.
And of course Yoga along the way to keep your body and soul in check.
I do believe (Yoga) feeds the body and soul in a  way that nothing else does.
 – Beth Risdon, Ironman
Were truer words ever spoken?
P. S.  Thanks for the Interview.  Love ya!
ClairBethkiss_thumb.jpg

Pacing the Cage with Jimmy Buffett

Eleven months ago I wrote this post about running the ING Miami Marathon. It started as a healthy tribute to my parents whom I lost too soon.  My siblings and I (below, I am second from the right) are the lucky souls fated to be raised by 2 of the best people to grace our planet.

Handy Siblings

Though full, this photo is missing some great mugs.  My Mom and Dad.  Gone now for nearly 17 and more than 9 years respectively, this pirate looked at 40 for a long time parent-less.  Damn.  Hard to believe so much life has happened in this span of time.  But it has.  Like a lot of life events, including training for a marathon – there are times we can feel like we are pacing the cage.

Waiting.  Chomping at the bit.  Foaming at the mouth.

Waiting to pounce.

Ready.

At the start line.

Into life.

This marathon seemed like a world away last year.  Now it’s a mere 4 weeks off.  I have 3 weeks left before I taper.  Next, I get on an airplane.  I am then out the cage.

Marathon training can be tough if not monotonous by anyone’s standards.  Here’s a brief look at some of my long runs.  In order.

10 miles

12 miles

first 14 miles

16 miles

18 miles

20 miles

Next up: 14, 20, 8, race.  My body needs this time to prepare but my mind is in the cage, pacing.

As Jimmy Buffett says:

“Pacing The Cage”
Sunset is an angel weeping, Holding out a bloody sword

No matter how I squint I cannot, Make out what it’s pointing toward

Sometimes you feel like you’ve lived too long, The days drip slowly on the page
And you catch yourself, Pacing the cage
Friends, life without my parents has caught my weeping for my angels more often than I can sometimes bare.  I squint and look for their message feeling like I’ve lived way too long without them.  But it is so not the case.  They have a legacy, as do I.
I  have 2 legs that work, a better than-ever-sister/training partner and six eyes that feed me in their light.
ChildrenThanksgiving2013
My children.  Their grandchildren (3 of 18)
And her.  She reminds me to Shut up and Run.
And her.  She reminds me that a lot of what I need I right in my own back yard.
And to top it off I am busting out of this cage in Margaritaville.
Running in Miami on Superbowl Sunday.  I can’t believe this is real.  Worth the cage.  Worth the wait.  Hopefully, worth the pace.
You won’t believe this either:  Marrymeyoga is interviewing a real live Ironman later this month.  Stay tuned.
For the record (pun intended) in 1991, I danced across the stage in Charlotte, NC as a big kosher pickle during Cheeseburger in Paradise – I did not get hired for the remaining tour but it was fun.
What’s your favorite Jimmy Buffett song?

 

How to get past mile 15 and 5 Holiday Yoga Poses

It’s 6:20 a.m. Christmas Eve.  I am preparing to go on a 5 mile quickie.  I entered the Virginia pre dawn chill to retrieve the paper atop my driveway and thought of those 3 wise men traversing the mountains for days to meet the Man of All Time (he was a baby then).  What did they talk about?  Did they know each other before the journey?  Was anybody funny?  How did they get past mile 15, 19, and 31?

I know a little about getting past mile 19.  (Plant someone on the course who isn’t afraid to call you a p*ssy.  It works.)

You’ll have to ask her about mile 31.  She is my ultra hero; my extremely tenacious and downright determined friend.  

Mile 15?  Let the wise man lead.

Saturday I  had a 18 mile training run.  Flying solo, armed with my ipod and poorly placed water plants (I’ll never do that again), I was moving along pretty good until mile 14.  Here’s my mental audio at that point:

4 stupid miles, Clair.  4 stupid little miles.  You can do this.

And I decided to:

At mile 15, it happened.  My angel flew down scooped me up in the soft little wing and carried me to the end.  Actually, my friend Larry – a fellow marathoner, husband to my sister-by-another-mother and pseudo mayor of our little town, took me home.  3 miles of cussing.  Sorry, Larry.  He just laughed and said:

Larry, looks good in a dress, non?

I made it.  I thanked him.  The end.  I have 20 miles to kick out on Saturday.  I wonder what Larry’s up to.

Here are 5 must do yoga poses for the holidays:

1.  Sukasana (with our without full lotus as shown below) for meditation and quiet.

2.  Gentle spinal twist helps restore balance to your body and mind.

3.  Seated forward bend helps release emotion.

seated forward bend

4.  Tree pose for balance

5.  Extended Side Angle Pose keeps your digestion on tract.  Enough said.

extended side angle pose

Yoga can be your Larry angel.  Make time for yourself.

See you on the other side of 20.

 

Do you think I’m pretty?

Oh for god's sake.  Can MMY be more self-involved?  I take selfies at work instead of writing research proposals.  (shhhh, I need my job.)

Clairselfie

My new mantra:  Strong is the new skinny.

Not a petite person but related to several and friend to many, I have always had a negative body image.  The overly blessed bosom that I skinnied down with the help of a plastic surgeon 13 years ago had always been by  nemesis.  With that weight gone, you’d think I was slim-pickins.  Not so much.  I still want to be different that I am.  I forever compare myself to the likes of others who are freak-of-nature gorgeous and with not-possible bodies.  Aim high, right?  Wrong when it comes to body image.  Aim where you are then move if it makes you healthier.

On Sunday morning  when my husband grabbed my arm (don’t call the police – it was in play) he said:

Dang, my wife is getting so strong and muscley.  She feels like a 13-year-old boy.

1.  Get your mind out of the gutter.

2.  It felt dang good.  I do feel strong.

Whether it’s the marathon training or the yoga or my age (45) – I am entering my own skin.  I am still not skinny.  I still rock the 3 (BIG) baby belly.  But that’s okay with me.  I am doing my best, getting stronger and feeling good.  One day I may just feel great about it.  For now, ‘good’ is as good as it gets.

ING Miami Marathon, here I come.

ClairMegan

I want my daughters to love themselves as they are.  The only goal is optimum health and maximizing potential.  No size. No specific weight.

KathJane5k(I love Jane’s expression.  This was taken after a Toys for Tots 5k.)

My middle daughter is 13 and for better or better or worse she is built like her mother only much better.  I want her to embrace her build and her strength as a gift.  She is Katniss to me – mighty, fierce, all girl and all things tenacious.

And cool as crap.  Jennifer Lawrence (Katniss) told Barbara Walters:

‘I just think it should be illegal to call somebody fat on TV.’

Katniss also said:

I think she’s gorgeous and I love her.

 This one too:

katclair

Even if she does make fun of my selfies.  Here’s her imitation of her mother:

kath

If strong is the new skinny, this woman is a rail.

Sharon  Dangles - NPC Continental Championships 2011 - #1

Do you think she’s pretty?

Saturday’s run:

16milerun

Up next:  18, baby!

Not my size (there I go again, still working on it)!  My mileage.

The Justin Timberlake of Race Week

Can I admit something?

I am in love with Justin Timberlake.  I saw a re-broadcast of the VMA’s on Monday night and YELLED at my children for talking during JT’s performance.  Much ado about has been made over MC – from which I shielded my offspring, fYI.  But I think she was intoxicated and I am over her.  But I can relate. I am drunk with love of all things Justin.  And it’s making my race week training/tapering the absolute bomb.

Source:  www.salon.com

He’s waving at me.

Yes, I downloaded ‘Take Back the Night‘ and ‘Holy Grail‘ right then and there.  I have been groovin’ my taper runs with dreams of winning this dang race.  Here’s what else I did besides the usual half marathon taper runs, while day-dreamed about his

pe(rformance)!

  • I SWAM!  I haven’t completed a lap in a year.  On Tuesday I managed 30!  (lame but better than nothing!)
  • I got on the stationary bike at the gym – just to kill time while my son was practicing.  No gabbing for Clair – 12 thigh pumping miles in 35 minutes.  (lame but better than nothing!)
  • Taught 4 vinyasa classes.
  • Made some important phone calls I’ve been putting off to advance my journey. (later post)

This post is not about me.  It’s about my new Gu.

No need for this:

When you have this:

Serious talent, people.  He is not just yummy he is the real deal.   If you can sing, dance, ooze charm, manage humility and deflect your accomplishments – you are my iwannameetyou person.  Totally married.  Totally happy.  Totally in awe of the talent bestowed by God into one human being.  Thank you.

My youngest loves him too.  She joined the swim team this week.

Janeswim

I cut my hair.  I have bangs now.

Clairbangs

Maybe I will PR on Sunday.  No matter.

Holy Grail, It’s been really fun.

What are you doing this weekend?