Good to Great Friday

It’s Good Friday.  Having grown up Catholic with 13 years of parochial school under my belt, I know how to have a good Good Friday.  Customs include:

  •  Fasting for the day
  • Adoration of the Cross
  • Worldwide silence at 3 PM (the noted time of death of Jesus)

As I have done for many of the past 40+ years, I will observe each.

This may be difficult as we are on Spring Break.  However, we are doing our best to keep the holy in Holy Week.

My son (right) is in Florida.  (Though some of have been called to be fishers of men, he is a fisher of fish.)

Normally a Holy Thursday tradition, My girls got their feet washed toes painted before we left for the Outer Banks of North Carolina (a heavenly and spiritual place) on Tuesday:

I held a beautiful baby boy – a joy Mary shares.

My daughter worked with clay and remembered an angel:

There she is in white:

I cried and remembered much.

I have not yet mentioned yoga or running.  I have done each many, many times this Holy Week.  With it, everything, including Good Friday went from Good to Great.  Always does. 

Happy Easter.

How’s your week been?


Miami Madness

Finishing the 2014 Lifetime Miami Marathon is by far the hardest physical thing I have ever done including drug-free childbirth.  


I did it.  I ran 15 miles in tremendous pain.  The end.

The bigger, better aspects of the race report include this:

1.  My sisters gave me their marathon.  They stayed right with me throughout the race.  The didn’t have to.  They were feeling good.  My body started breaking down (for a number of reasons) around mile 11.  Theirs did not.  They are my heart.  My Mom and Dad in heaven would be proud.  They are the reason we did this.


2.  I ripped around Miami like Crockett and Tubbs in this mustard yellow Camaro convertible.:

crockett and tubbs

3.  After I actually finished this crazy thing – I cruised around Biscayne Bay in a yacht in a bathing suit, with wine and a medal around my neck.

4.  I stayed at the Fontaine Bleu the night after the race.

Here’s the pool.


The view from my coffee perch.  Don’t hate.

5.  Here’s the mantra that saved my sanity while I was gritting out mile after mile:

In this body, in this moment – it’s a beautiful place to be.

My body was broken but I wouldn’t let my spirit be so. For this, I am proud.  Not a tear was shed until the end.  Gratitude, disappointment, relief – it all came out.

And so, my third marathon is born.  Not nearly as pretty as my third child:

Janehaircut Hopefully my fourth marathon will be pretty.  Or at least remotely cute.

Thank you, Miami.  I coming back.  Fierce.  Ultra so.

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.


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.

My gourmet 20-miler

For real?!!  Yesterday was my 7th 20 mile run and it was by far the most hype.

It included:

  • 2 heated bathroom breaks with no line on clean commodes with toilet paper
  • a shot of wheatgrass and fresh juice at mile-14
  • an offer of fresh peppers dipped in humus
  • a suggestion to stop at 7-11 for orange juice and peanuts.

I’m surprised we didn’t get mani’s and pedi’s or maybe some waxing along the way.  Why not?  YOLO.

I think I could actually get fat from this kind of long running. Yesterday I was royalty on a run.  My sister, brother-in-law, and I bagged our second 20-miler for the ING Miami Marathon.  I am a spoiled brat and never want another primitive minimalist run.  

Here’s where we got the wheatgrass and fresh juice.

Ellwood Thompson Organic Market in Richmond, Va

My feet were killing me, I had no mental acuity and almost fell into a gentleman at the checkout while I was waiting for my fabulous fuel.  Instead of thinking me cool and fit and fun like I falsely believe of myself at times, he gave me a dirty look.  He insinuated with his eyes that I was rude with  no self-control.  Clearly, we had not met.

This is the juice concoction:

Shaka smart, shaka, vcu basketball, vcu, virginia commonwealth university, richmond, va

HAVOC, baby.  It was delicious and energizing.  Check out those ingredients.  I was havoc on the pavement afterwards.  At least in my mind.

My sister and I think we need to hire our own juicer to accompany us to Miami.  THAT would be nice.

Today I taught a Hatha Yoga class where we did Heron’s Pose:



And now, I taper.  Heaven.

Next up:  Interview with an Ironman – SHUT UP AND RUN!

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.


Mariah Carey made me touch you

I am from a family of huggers on my Mother’s side.  When my aunt met her brother’s future in-laws she said:

“They are the huggingest bunch of people I’ve ever met”

It’s true.  I inherited the trait and I NEVER EVER LET GO FIRST.  The human puzzle pieces fitting nicely together in a cushy seal of tender connection and protection.  I love it.  Born 6 weeks prematurely back in 1968 at only 3. 5 pounds – by emergency C-section to the bravest woman on the planet, I wonder if I crave touch so much because my very life in the very beginning depended on it.  My Dad said he could fit all of me ‘the whole works’ in the palm of his hand when I was minutes to hours to days and weeks old.


I had to stay in the hospital for 3 weeks to GAIN up to 5 five pounds and MAINTAIN it for 24 hours.  See, I was petite once.  But I am an overachiever – I gained and maintained to beat the band. I blossomed into a 5 ft. 7 in. yoga teacher who runs and depending on the day considers the entering the Athena division.  (That’s a whole other post.)

Which brings me to this post, built a little like Mariah and dreaming a lot of being a soul-oozing, body groovin’ singing diva like my girl, I love her 2008 release, Touch My Body.


The lyrics are a little risqué, so muscle up or scroll down.  Either way, you get the drift.  This girl wants to be touched.

Touch my body
Put me on the floor
Wrestle me around
Play with me some more
Touch my body
Throw me on the bed
I just wanna make you feel
Like you never did

As a yoga student I long to be touched.  Inside, I scream:

Yank me.

Pull me.

Twist me.

Sit on me.

Stand on me.


I am sure not all preemies are like this but I wonder if, it has something to do with it.  Anyway, you might wonder why a hug-lovin’ former dancer who teaches yoga has trouble leaving her mat to touch her students –  in love to adjust and excavate proper alignment in the beautiful bodies before me. 

Because Mariah gets me moving, I added her to my playlist for training runs.  I am now regularly leaving the security of my mat to touch, whisper to, and encourage my students one on one even in the group as the greats (known and unknown) I have had the privilege of practicing with do so elegantly.  I don’t have that finesse yet, but I am gaining confidence to Touch Your Body, in the most non-intrusive but intentionally helpful way!  There is something so satisfying about the split second connection when a student releases a muscle and maybe a memory or postural bad habit right with me.  And in that  moment, we are of service together – moving toward vitality.



But, rest assured, I am also respectful of boundaries and hone my tuning fork to know, when not to touch too.

This is beautiful too!  Everyone in their own downward facing dog.  Swimming in personal vitality untouched, yet touching.


And so, thanks Mariah for the inspiration!  I bet there’s a lot of folk who would Touch Your Body.


Do you like hugs?

If you practice yoga, do like a touchy teacher?

Were you a preemie?

I fell in a manhole

Who does that? 

DisclaimerWhereas I don’t expect any one run, workout, race, meal, or yoga practice on any particular day to mean anything to you – unless it was a doozy – I couldn’t resist posting about my fall into a manhole yesterday morning.  Mostly it makes a great headline!

Here’s how it went down.  My sister and I decided to  meet at 6:15 yesterday morning in downtown Short Pump for a 5-mile quickie. 

At 5:15 before I left, my husband asked me is we had any reflective sh*t to wear.  I said no, Broad Street will be lit and there are side walks.  I’m really smart like that.  Not.


It was pitch black.



We started out right away feeling the runner’s bond: solving the world’s problems, laughing and pushing each other a little bit.  After about 1.5 miles, my sister asked if we could walk a bit so she could shed her sweatshirt.  Enter:  guardian angel.  We pulled back for a number of yards. 

I had no idea this, with the top all askew, was waiting to bite me:


And bite it, I did.  Suddenly the earth dropped out from under me and my left leg was being swallowed up to my quad by this:



That, my friends, is the inside of a manhole.  I see actual teeth.  You?  Here’s what that sonofabitch did to me:


My sister and I finished our 5 and headed for the refuge of Starbuck’s for a latte and some (nervous) laughter.

I am pretty sure this makes me a badass. 

I shudder to think what my tibia would’ve looked like had we actually been running when I fell into the manhole.  Thanks, again guardian angel.

If anything, it makes for a good story and an even better headline!

What did you do yesterday?

Next up:  Hero post, follow up to Stories of Complete Indulgence.