8.20.2014

30 days until Ironman Maryland 2014

Yoga on the pier Philadelphia

I’m still living in a world where I’m not sure it seems real that in 30 days I’ll be doing Ironman Maryland.  Just one month until race day.  I’m pretty calm but then again if you don’t really believe you are doing something why wouldn’t you be calm? Seriously though…  I don’t see the purpose of getting too worked up over it.  What will that do for me or my race? Especially this far in advance.  It’s totally normal and understandable to feel a little nervous or anxious before such a huge race, but we are able to control our energy. Acknowledge your feelings then let go of what won’t serve you.

It’s an amazing feeling when I get up some mornings to think about how I’ve transformed through Ironman over the past 10 months….and what a great time I’ve had.  I can’t say that training for my second Ironman has been much different than my first but I can say the overall experience has gotten even better this time around. I’ve enjoyed it so much that IMMD will not my second and last Ironman like I expected.  I’m super excited to set new goals, train harder, and do great things with my next Ironman. I’ve already committed to my 2015 Ironman but I’ll save those details for another day.

Today I was lucky enough to train with my mom.  What a great sport mom still is.  After sunrise yoga on Race Street Pier under the Ben Franklin Bridge I took her swimming. Today was the last day of the season for the Kelly Pool and I will miss training in that pool. On our ride to the pool mom told me she thinks of me every time she swims laps at the gym.  Well that’s funny, mom, because every time I swim I think of you.   Every. Single. Time.  I’m pretty sure that’s because mom was the one who had me swimming before walking at 6 months old.  I’m so grateful she took us swimming every summer.  I’m not a fast swimmer but I’m very comfortable in the water.

So as I sit here 30 days away trying to make myself realize that this race really is happening soon, I am happy and looking forward to the experience.  See you soon, Ironman Maryland!

philadelphia john kelly pool

8.20.2014

Yoga legend BKS Iyengar passes away

B.K.S. Iyengar dies
One of my favorite B.K.S. Iyengar quotes.  This morning we say goodbye to a yoga legend. World-renowned yoga practitioner, B.K.S. Iyengar, brought awareness of yoga to the West.  Iyengar was considered one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world.

I always tell people, live happily and die majestically.” B.K.S. Iyengar
 
8.17.2014

Chocolate Avocado Muffins (Gluten-free/ Vegan)

chocolate avocado muffins

Chocolate muffins healthy enough for breakfast.  I love avocados. Fortunately they’re full of healthy fat and vitamins and surprisingly make a great substitute for the unhealthy fats normally used in baking.  Chocolate and avocado may not sound like the best combo but trust me… no one will know unless you tell them. Enjoy.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup all purpose gluten-free flour mix
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup raw cocoa powder or unsweeteneed cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2/3 cup grade A pure maple syrup
  • 3/4 cup almond milk
  • 1/3 cup melted coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

  • Preheat your oven to 350*F. Spray muffin tin with baking spray.
  • Mix both flours, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in one bowl.
  • Melt the coconut oil and in food processor with the avocado, maple syrup, almond milk and vanilla extract until smooth.
  • Stir or beat both mixtures together.
  • Scoop the batter into the muffin tins and bake for 15-20 minutes until the tops are a little bit cracked.
  • Remove from the oven and let them sit for 15 minutes to let them cool.
  • Eat room temp or cold. I love them cold.
8.17.2014

Teaching yoga

Philadelphia power yoga

I can’t tell you how great it feels to be teaching again! If you’ve followed my blog for awhile you’ve probably noticed that I’ve recently slacked with blogging my yoga practice, teaching yoga, and yoga in general. I have missed sharing what I love and live through yoga. And I almost forgot how much fun it is to teach. What makes it so much fun? The students, of course, and sharing something that’s made a difference in my life and teaching something I’m so passionate about to others.

I’ve been so excited this year about all things related to triathlon and Ironman that I sometimes almost forget how important it is to keep up with my yoga practice.  Every time I find myself in a balancing sequence it reminds me of the importance of balance in training and life.  I can workout, train and push the body physically but I don’t receive the same mind-body benefits as I do when I incorporate yoga into my training.  It makes my mind and body feel soooooooo good.  After yesterday’s Princeton 70-3 ride  my body already feels better from teaching this morning’s class.

In yoga we practice Samtosha, acceptance or contentment, taking what is and whatever presents itself. Samtosha is one of the five Niyamas, and Niyamas are the second limb of the eight limbs of yoga, which relates to self-discipline. It’s hard not to build expectations on and off the mat. When I teach it’s amazing to watch people open up, let go of expectations, release, and accept where they are while at the same time pushing to their edge. We transform and grow through practice and most people who practice yoga find that what they learn and discover on the mat they apply off the mat in their every day lives.

Maybe I’ve opened up even more after some little breaks this year, seeing my own practice from a different perspective and teaching from a different perspective too.  I am really happy to be out there teaching yoga.  September is National Yoga Month so next month is a great time to begin yoga if you don’t already practice. I’ll be teaching yoga for charity for the remainder of August and all of September so come join me!  I’ll share more about the charity I’m teaching for at the end of next week.  Follow facebook.com/yogapeach for class updates and last minute classes I might add to the schedule. All levels classes held at the Marine Club 1100 S. Broad Street. Thank you to those who came to class this morning!

Sunday, August 17 at 9:30am-10:45am. Vinyasa yoga
Saturday, August 23 9:30-10:45am Vinyasa yoga- Foundation
Tuesday, August 26 6:30-7:45pm Vinyasa yoga- Intention setting
Tuesday, September 2 6:30-7:45pm Vinyasa yoga-Focus and breath work
Saturday, September 6 9:30-10:45am Vinyasa yoga- Mindset
Tuesday, September 9 6:30-7:45pm Vinyasa yoga-Twisting and stress
Saturday, September 27 9:30-10:45am Vinyasa yoga- Transitions
Sunday, September 28 11:00-12:00pm Yin Yoga- Working with resistance

8.17.2014

Ironman 70.3 Princeton Bike Course

Ironman 70.3 Princeton course maps

Hi! So incase you’re new here I’ll be the first to admit that I have very little idea about what I’m doing when it comes to cycling.  It’s a learn as I go thing, which I’ve certainly embraced over the past 11 months with triathlon training and racing.  In three weeks I can say I’ve been doing this for a full year now, yay!  When it comes to cycling I’ll just smile, nod and consider whatever I’m told. It’s the best way to learn. I’m so lucky to have the opportunity to train fun with people who know so much more than I do.  The only time something occasionally gets in my way is when someone I just meet tells me how I should think during a race. Should? Our minds are all wired different so there’s no right way to think yourself through a race. Whatever works for you. When someone challenges my mind’s game plan it still usually annoys me but now I’m able to say/sing “la, la, la, la, la” in my head and just let it go.  I also realize that everyone’s advice comes with good intention.  My mindset is one the most important things I can count on to get me through my next Ironman in just over a month.  I trust myself that I will do it.

Yesterday I had an awesome 56 mile morning ride on the Ironman Princeton 70.30 bike course and BBQ with the Phila tri club.  Actually it was 59 miles counting getting lost. Even though I’m not doing the Princeton Half Ironman it was great practice for Ironman Maryland since both bike courses are flat.  Flat.  Ugh. I’ve been told Maryland should be an easier bike course than my first Ironman because it’s flat.  After yesterday’s ride I can confirm that I do not think this will be easier for me.  Faster, maybe. But easier?  Um, can we say boringggggg??? Holy crap, what will I do with my mind riding 112 miles flat?  I will miss working through the uphill challenges and the fun I have riding downhill.  At mile 42 of yesterday’s ride I thought about the struggles that may come up over a 112 mile flat ride. I also realized that the scenery most likely will not compare to cycling Cabo San Lucas and San Jose del Cabo with the views of rugged cliffs, deserts, mountains, and the El Arco rock formation where the Pacific Ocean meets the Sea of Cortez.  I will remind myself at IMMD not to compare my second Ironman to my first Ironman, to appreciate this opportunity, and to focus on each moment and goal without thinking too far ahead. I’m so happy I did yesterdays ride. Riding with the group was a lot of fun and it helped prepare my mind for what’s ahead.  34 days until IMMD!

Princeton 70.3 bike course

8.11.2014

Ironman Lake Placid 2014 Race Report

ironman lake placid race report

Road trips can be so much fun. Three weekends ago I drove up to Lake Placid with a friend to volunteer and support the Philadelphia Triathlon Club at Ironman Lake Placid.  It was my first time to attend a triathlon on the spectator side and it turns out that supporting and volunteering rocks just as much as racing an Ironman.  Seriously, it really does but in a completely different way. Cheering is pretty awesome and the positive energy that Ironman attracts is inspiring and even a little emotional.  So I guess this isn’t really a race report considering I didn’t race and it’s more like a 17 hour spectator and volunteer report.

The morning started off rough for athletes.  Heavy rain, low visibility, lighting and thunder, and lots of shivers. If an Ironman was easy everyone would do it, right? We were soaked and freezing in the morning watching everyone come out of the water. I can’t imagine starting an Ironman in those conditions. It was awesome and inspiring to see people push through it. Plenty of people consider an Ironman a fairly ridiculous distance so just imagine getting out of the water and on your bike in a thunderstorm with piercing rain on top of 140.6 miles. I wonder how I would handle that.  I’d probably be laughing and maybe even swearing a little in response to the absurdity. Unexpected challenges can hold you back or drive you.  You pick.  I’m not saying it would be fun to race in the rain. Not at all. But smiling and pushing through seems like the best option. Once the rain cleared away at 10:00am the weather was gorgeous, high 60s and sunny.  I’m sure the morning weather made some great stories.

One of my favorite parts of the day was just how inspired I felt watching everyone.  It’s one thing to have participated in just a few triathlons but to actually watch and learn from people made me think deeper about the entire thing.  I love the dedication and feel so lucky to meet such motivated people who enjoy staying active.  You know…in between the occasional bites of bar food and cocktails.  It’s just really awesome to be loving it so much and to socialize with people who share the same interest. Following PTCers on the athlete tracker, running around the course and cheering (and screaming) over the 17 hour day to track them down and take pictures was another highlight.  They all rocked it on the course.  Seeing people come in from the bike and running along the sidewalk with a few people as they started the marathon were the most exciting spots besides the finish line.  Volunteering was a blast.  I was pretty lucky to get moved to the finish line tent in the evening so I had a great view of everyone finishing in the final hours. Jimmy proposing to Jill at the finish line was of course so incredibly awesome too!
 
I know this race report appears slim on actual race details but summarizing an Ironman is pretty difficult for me.  I guess this triathlon and Ironman stuff has become pretty meaningful to me in just the past 11 months. It’s so much more than a race and the miles people put in to cross the finish line.  As I watched finisher after finisher in the final three hours I started to envision what it would be to cross the finish line at IMLP. I realized in those moments that my upcoming Ironman Maryland  race will not be second and last Ironman. So much was going on inside me in those final hours. I felt so inspired and knew I wanted to do my “third and last Ironman” in 2015.  I’ve had a blast this year preparing for my first two Ironman races and next year I want to set new goals, continue learning, train harder and put a whole lot more into it. Volunteers at IMLP had the opportunity to enter IMLP 2015 the next day although I actually decided against it. When a new goal comes to mind though I usually just go for it so I am already signed up and committed to my 2015 Ironman. I’m just not quite ready to share the details yet.

I’m so grateful that I was able to be at Ironman Lake Placid 2014 and thankful for everyone who inspires me to move forward and continue growing through these experiences.  Huge congrats to everyone who raced at Ironman Lake Placid! You all rock.

Thank you to the people who allowed me to use their images on my blog.

ironman lake placid 2015
ironman lake placid 2014 race report
ironman lake placid swim course
ironman lake placid 2014
Ironman Lake Placid bike course
ironman lake placid bike course
Ironman Lake Placid race report
ironman lake placid 2015
ironman lake placid 2014 race report
ironman lake placid volunteer report
ironman lake placid course
ironman lake placid
ironman lake placid course
7.30.2014

Husband’s Maternity Pictures

maternity photographer philadelphia

5

5

5

Um, hi!  I’m way behind on blogging so I thought this was a quick way to update my blog this week. I’m a Philadelphia birth doula so I found this to be a kind of funny. This guy’s wife didn’t want to do a maternity shoot so he hired a photographer to do his own.

Check out the rest of his paternity images My wife didn’t want to take maternity pictures, so I hired a photographer and took her place… 

7.22.2014

Midnight Madness Run and 60 days to Ironman Maryland!

ironman maryland

So much fun running Midnight Madness this weekend!  Sunday morning’s midnight run, Philly’s glow-in-the-dark illuminated race, started at Lloyd Hall and covered the 8.4 mile Schuylkill River Running Loop. The Stroehmann Back on my Feet In24 Philadelphia 24-hour race weekend featured an Ultra-Marathon, Relay Challenge, Midnight Madness and 5K to benefit Back on my Feet, a national organization that uses running to help the homeless transform their lives.

The best part about the Midnight Madness Run, besides the fact that it started at midnight, was everyone’s energy. It was awesome and I wish more races started at midnight!  I can’t say my thoughts were too entertaining over 8.4 miles but I always blog my races mile by mile so here you go…

back on my feet midnight run

mile 1:  Why is the first mile always the hardest? Mind tells the body what to do. Mantra: pick it up, peach. #midnightmadness

mile 1.5:  Really, Keli?  So you want to be an Ironman again and you’re thinking about how far you’ve gone after just a mile?  Ha!  Over and over my mind repeats “pick it up, peach.”

mile 2:  My iphone is at 40% battery life. I’m working on call so I shouldn’t take pictures (well, maybe one or two) or use my run keeper. I’m listening to my Ironman song and feeling great now.  Loving passing the Ultra runners headed past us in the opposite direction and telling them how awesome they are.

mile 4:  Really? Half way already?  Awesome. I’m visualizing Ironman Maryland as I run.

mile 7:  Isn’t the art museum gorgeous at 1:00am?  I can’t believe just 1 1/2 years ago the thought of 8.4 miles sounded so far. Piece of cake.

mile 8:  That went fast. With just a half mile to go let’s pick it up, peach!

Finish line: Scott high fives me and I yell “You are an Ironman” because we’re both doing Ironman Maryland 60 days from today. 60 days, yay!

It’s now 60 days until Ironman Maryland and I’m in a totally different place than I was at 60 day to Ironman Los Cabos. Thank goodness. I am still a little surprised I signed up to do this all again and not sure it’s fully sunk in. I am happy to say that even though I recently mentioned training for this Ironman has been a slight challenge I do not feel nervous and usually feel pretty excited about this race. I’m really excited to see my IMLC friends that I’ve kept in touch with who are also doing IMMD along with the new people I’ve met doing IMMD. I think I have my race goals set but I’m not quite ready to blog them. You know what’s weird though?  I realized this week that I’ve never watched a triathlon before so I’m pretty excited to cheer on triathlon club friends at Ironman Lake Placid this weekend!

Just remember to stay in the moment, take it day by day, and keep going.  Until next time…

 

7.10.2014

Ironman Maryland 2014 Confessions and commitments

Ironman Maryland 2014

Ironman is not just about crossing the finish line, it’s about showing up at the starting line. The hardest part is committing to the training and efforts that lead up to big day. It’s the patience, hard work and commitment that brings a person far in their goals. If you want something in life you have to work for it but most importantly, you can’t give up when things get tough. Things aren’t always easy and the same tools I use through life obstacles I apply this week to Ironman. If you don’t have the right mindset you get yourself nowhere.  The mind can limit you or drive you. Your choice.

The past few days I found myself contemplating two decisions.

1) give up
2) focus on what I can do and never give up

Since I usually pick option 2 this time around is no different. Focus on the what I can do and never give up.  So I considered quitting.  That alone makes me feel a little guilty. Guilty enough that I feel the need to acknowledge and write about it. Don’t get me wrong. I see nothing wrong with quitting when it comes to some things.  When your goals and passions shift sometimes it is the right option.  But this wasn’t just anything I considered quitting.  I contemplated quitting something that I began less than a year ago and something I enjoy and love so much. Why did I consider quitting? Mostly just because of other things going on and other goals I also want to focus on.

I am still training but not nearly as hard as I intended to or should be.  I could provide loads of excuses from work travel to 30 hour work shifts to so much more but at the end of the day I am still responsible for my commitment.  If I plan to move forward there is absolutely no reason to dwell on the past which can not be changed, unless it is for a reason that is within my control to bring me to a better outcome.  I know if I decided against Ironman Maryland I would always wonder what that day could have been like. Ironman teaches a lot of lessons and I know I need to stick through this to show up at the starting line. It’s important to enjoy the process but I don’t think you have to enjoy every single second of reaching your goals. Thanks to last night’s chats with a friend from triathlon club and a friend from IMMD I felt really motivated training today.

Life requires hard work, patience, discipline and dedication. I accept where I am today while I strive to better myself.  The moment you want to quit is often the moment you need to keep pushing. I’ve had many opportunities to think and be told it wasn’t possible to achieve things I wanted to achieve but I know not to allow myself to think like that. We are often limited in life by our minds and thinking of our past instead of staying in the moment. When I focus of the past rather than the present opportunities I can’t be surprised when I mess things up. We can easily think about what’s to come and worry about how we will deal with it. You can give yourself a thousand reasons why something won’t work but if you can think of the one reason why it will work, you will find yourself doing what the mind believes…and the body will follow.  I will remind myself every day to stay in the moment and focus on training plans day by day. Soon enough I will reach the starting line of 140.6 miles.

Don’t give up on something that means so much to you and work hard for what you want in life.  Off to sleep and look forward to an early morning run.
7.6.2014

4th of July Baby

Philadelphia doula

 July 4, 2014 Baby girl V. born at 11:58pm

Two nights ago just before midnight I received a call from my “doula sister” Heather Keeney, better known as my doula bestie. She was the first doula I met years ago and we became doulas at the same time. She inspired me and supported me as a doula and she still does to this very day.  On Thursday evening one of her clients went into labor 2 weeks after her estimated due date along with another client of hers almost 3 weeks prior to her estimated due date. My doula clients often ask what we do in the rare event this happens. Birth doulas always work with a backup doula but what are the chances two first time mamas with estimated due dates nearly five weeks apart go into labor at the exact same time?  Well last night it did happen and it was one of the most significant experiences for me as a birth doula. I have a difficult time writing about extraordinary life experiences especially when they are meaningful to me.  These experiences are clear in my mind yet words and sentences seem close impossible to write. That’s probably why I’ve never blogged a single birth besides the birth of my niece.  Last night I attended a birth which I will always remember clearly and will be in my heart every Independence Day. Rather than sharing the beautiful birth story, which I feel is best told by the mother or father, with their permission I’d like to share a birth memory of mine from a couple who’s become very special to me.

As I was leaving for Pennsylvania Hospital I received text messages, understandably, from my new doula client in labor who had never even met me before.  Can I ask how many births you’ve attended?  Any births at Pennsylvania Hospital? Since we’ve never met before do you mind if I could get a ball park figure of how many?  It would make me feel better.  I don’t know if my doula Heather told you but I want to do my best to avoid a C-section.  So, you are an active doula… just want to make sure?  After establishing a relationship with one five minute phone call and just a few text messages I received the final text message  Sigh of relief. Phew. I look forward to meeting you soon and I was on my way.  I entered labor and delivery room 14 as determined as I always am that this couple experiences a happy and positive birth. Something very special happened within the first hour of meeting soon to be Mama M and Daddy T.  I would describe it as “birth chemistry” and mama expressed gratitude assuring me throughout the day and after the birth of her baby that she felt I was meant to be there with them as their birth doula. I could not agree more and I am so grateful that such a loving couple who had never previously met me trusted me throughout one of the most important days of their lives.  Perhaps Mama M and Daddy T taught and offered me as much as I offered them. My role as birth doula is not as simple as receiving a call and going to work. The opportunity to work with and support women and couples through one of their most life changing times and while new life enters the world completely amazes me. To be trusted to make a difference while entering a personal and sacred space is something incredibly serious and meaningful to me. It is almost always far more than just professional relationship.  The capabilities of the human mind and body are truly amazing.  Each and every birth continues to amaze me and I continue to be inspired and learn so much from each birth and every couple.

Philadelphia hypnobabies doula

July 4, 2014 Just after midnight Mama M went into labor 17 days before her estimated due date. Her two most significant goals were to have a healthy vaginal delivery and a July 4th baby.  Mama is a Flag Day baby so going into labor on July 4th and having an Independence Day baby was extra special to her. It felt fitting that we were at Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, along with the American Flag right outside her window.  Mama M labored calmly and beautifully with Daddy T and I throughout the entire day. Their original doula, Doula Heather, who they love and adore, just happen to be at the same hospital only 4 rooms down from us. Heather and I were able to arrange our 5 minute break at the same time to meet in the hall for a hug. We were also were lucky enough to receive a surprise visit from her after the baby of the birth she attended arrived. With the number of locations in the area to give birth what are the odds of all this happening?  Seriously, the whole day was incredible.  I could barely wrap my head around the fact that my oldest doula friend who has taught me so much was sitting in the same birthing room with us.  It seemed too perfect and special.  So special that I went ahead and broke one of my birth rules when the couple asked if I thought the baby would be a boy of girl.  Whenever a couple waits to find out the sex of their baby they always ask me if I think it’s a boy or girl. I always smile and respond the same even if I have an inclination.  I do not bet or guess on doula babies. There’s always laughter and usually at least one other attempt to get it out of me at one point or another.  Mama M and Daddy T were the first exception to my rule.  They both thought it was a boy and well…I shared with them that I had this pretty big feeling it was a girl. Heather thought it was a girl too.  Pretty interesting inclination considering something close to 80% of the babies I see born are boys. Interesting odds, right? At the end of Doula Heather’s visit we all agreed it would be best to do the postpartum visit with both of us doulas sometime next week. I still can’t believe Heather and I attended births on the same day in the same hospital. I love that we share a birth day on the the 4th of July.

So let’s fast forward to 10 cm at 10:38pm. It’s time to push.  We heard a few fireworks out the window.  ”Keli, will I have my July 4th baby?”  I remember her voice and that feeling in my heart up until the moment she met her baby.  I promised her all day I would give her my best and work with her to achieve all of her birth wishes. I also promised her every word that came out of my mouth over those 24 hours would be 100% honest.  How can I promise someone their baby will arrive by a certain time?  I can not promise this but knew she would do it. I told her right now our goal was to focus, for her to give it everything she had, and that no matter what the time is she’s about to meet her baby.  The only thing I could do in those final moments was communicate and assist mama through pushing assuring her how very strong her efforts really were.  I asked her to reflect on how hard she had worked the past 23 hours, reminded her that each step took her to where she is now, and that this is her last step before meeting baby. Looking at the clock with 5 minutes to midnight she asked me for the final time if she’d have a July 4th baby.  I remember telling her while withholding tears in my eyes “You are doing thissssssssssss!!!!  Trust yourself and keep it up, you are so strong, we can see your baby, you’ve done so amazing the entire day, give it all you’ve got and you’ll be holding your baby!”  Baby girl Vidya was born into the arms of her mother on July 4, 2014 at 11:58pm. Mama did it. I knew she would and Daddy decided in that moment to cut the cord after all.  I can’t possibly describe the moments following the birth of baby girl. Every birth I attend is special but last night was something entirely new and different. I entered this birth on the Fourth of July having just a few hours notice.  I had never even met this couple before yet it was one of the most beautiful births I’ve ever witnessed.  At 2:00am M and T hugged me goodbye and told me that they were so thankful to have a doula and that it made a big difference in their birth. But you know what?  Attending their birth made such a difference for me as a birth doula. They really were a gift to me.

Becoming a birth doula does not just happen.  Being a doula is a calling.  It’s a passion.  It’s something you truly care about.  One birth at a time, one family at a time.  New life entering the world is a miracle and being present to work with mamas and couples during this time while seeing humans take their first breath is a gift. It is truly a beautiful place to be. Congratulations to a very special new mom and dad.  Thank you for allowing me to work with you during the birth of your beautiful daughter. May her every smile make your world even brighter. As I write these final words there are actually fireworks outside my window.  Thank you for reminding me once again how grateful I am to be able to be a birth doula. Welcome to the world beautiful Baby Vidya.

philadelphia birth doulas

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