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

6.12.2014

100 days until Ironman Maryland

Ironman Maryland training

100 days until Ironman Maryland!  100 days is almost fifteen weeks.  That seems like quite awhile this time around.  I signed up for the race 16 days after my first Ironman so it was all I could think about at the time. Looking back at my training things are much calmer this time. There’s pretty much no worries, no stress, and no huge concerns.  There’s really no point in all of that anyways. Maybe it doesn’t actually feel real though this time.  Most days I feel happy to be able to do this again and then there’s the days where I ask myself why.  On the days I question my decision to do another Ironman I just have to remind myself of my goals and that pretty much always turns my mindset around.

I went to bed a few hours ago and always sleep the worst on early run days.  It’s 3:00am and I just woke up already for my 6:00am run.  Oops.  So what’s different this time around preparing for Ironman Maryland? Well for starters my thoughts.  There’s no What will it feel like to be in the ocean with all those people?  How would I be on the bike for that long? How will I possibly work through my first marathon after swimming 2.4 and biking 112? Will it be as hard as everyone tells me it is? How will I possibly train in the snow? What will it feel like to cross the finish line?  I can honestly say that the thought process has changed drastically. It’s not so much about the event as much as it is about the process of change and growth.  Does this even make sense at 3:00am?  Doing the work now and enjoying the process is the most important part to get to where I would like to be.  This journey has been amazing. I have enjoyed the challenges, pushing myself, progress, and learning as I go. Being so new to all of this excites me because I know so little and have so much ahead to learn. I’ve met so many awesome, like minded, motivated, and passionate people.  This is, by far, is one of the coolest parts the second time around.  Training has been transformative and I understand and accept that it is a process.

There are so many invaluable lessons that go far beyond the actual Ironman.  My first Ironman and current training have taught me so many important things.  You don’t always realize it because it happens slowly, but at times like this early in the morning I lie in bed with my eyes barely open reflecting on how amazing this opportunity and experience really is.

I wonder if the Ben Franklin Bridge is open yet.  I’m up so early I may as well go for a 4am run now and find out.  See you in 100 days at 140.6.

6.6.2014

Coffee talk

coffee

Coffee is just one of the things I’ve temporarily given up lately.  This isn’t the first time I’ve done it and I’m still not totally convinced there’s a point in doing it. I guess for me it’s part of a practice that’s somewhat health and discipline related. Maybe there’s a little more to it but it doesn’t really matter. I quit drinking coffee on May 12 and my goal was no coffee for a month. I felt happy and refreshed yet a little sleepy on my walk this morning and knew an iced latte would make me even happier.  I gave in 6 days early and it was so worth it.  The wonderful thing about coffee is that it delivers it’s promise every time.

So after 24 days with no coffee I can say that I genuinely feel better sipping a coffee at least every few days.  I try to pay attention to my body’s cues when it comes to nutrition and if something feels right, I’ll keep it. Coffee feels right. I am equally attached to the taste and aroma and I enjoy the coffee euphoria. I’m not sure I’ll ever give up coffee again because like the sign says….I’m not a quitter.

I think I’ll go ahead and have another cup right now. So happy coffee and I are back together.  Happy Friday.

6.2.2014

Hello June.

hello june

Time flies and before we know it we are already half way through the year.  I hope the past 5 months have been amazing for you. If it hasn’t been as good as you had envisioned it to be there’s still another half of 2014 to make a difference! Stay positive and keep going. Set new goals and let go of the past.

I am grateful that 2014 has been a very happy year for me.  May felt exciting and presented some awesome things that I’m not used to experiencing. I even felt a bit outside my comfort zone at times.  But that’s a good thing because magical things usually happen when we’re outside our comfort zones.  This year I’ve felt tremendous growth in some aspects of my life yet still hold myself back a little with other things. I look forward to June and as we transition into this new season I remind myself to be open to all of the possibilities ahead.

Wishing you a healthy and happy second half of the year. Go make things happen!

5.30.2014

Commando Yoga Pants

rob complains a lot

photo PollakComplains

No underwear in yoga?  Yes or no?  Big no in my opinion. I say keep your panties on.  I can only imagine someone’s pants ripping in Ardha Chandrasana Half Moon, Standing splits, or One-Legged Down Dog.  Yikes. Not pretty. And the idea of no panties in hot yoga?  Makes me nervous just thinking about it.

Dear Kate makes yoga pants you don’t wear underwear with. Since I haven’t tried them I shouldn’t be a firm no but it just doesn’t sound like a good idea.  Who knows. Maybe if I tried them I’d change my mind.  Check out the New commando yoga pants on Shape.com. How do you feel about going pantyless in yoga?

5.19.2014

Yoga on the Steps 2014

living beyond breast cancer philadelphia

This year’s Yoga on the Steps event was by far my favorite year yet.  The last two years I attended the yoga class held on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and this year was offered the opportunity to assist with teaching on the upper level of the steps.  It was a beautiful Sunday for Living Beyond Breast Cancer’s Yoga on the Steps this morning. Yoga on the Steps is LBBC’s signature breast cancer education and fundraising event. They educate communities about healthy living and quality of life issues and all funds benefit Living Beyond Breast Cancer.

yoga on the steps

yoga on the steps 2014

I am extremely passionate about yoga and being able to do yoga, volunteer and support LBBC is extremely meaningful to me.  This morning before class I watched these 12 year old girls play in yoga poses. They inspired me and I felt drawn to them. I wanted to learn more about their experiences through yoga. I was wondering in that moment what yoga would have done for me at that age and can only imagine the incredible mind-body benefits these girls will experience by starting their practice at this age.  They were all excited to share a little about their yoga experience and favorite yoga poses with me.  When one of them hugged me I made sure to tell each of them how impressed I was with their dedication to practice and how I only wish I knew what yoga was when I was 12 years old!  It makes me so happy to see kids having fun with yoga.

Jennifer Shelter shared an uplifting practice with inspiring and meaningful words, mindfulness and appreciation for those we honor and remember. Thank you, Jennifer, for a beautiful class this morning and thank you to everyone who came out to participate in Yoga on the Steps.

yoga on the steps philadelphia

yoga on the steps

yoga on the steps philadelphia

yoga on the steps philadelphia yoga on the steps

5.16.2014

yoga letter

Belize yoga retreats

“Oh and Keli! I went to hot yoga tonight!! Sweat like crazy though….even my ankles. Feel sooo good. Like I could just go to bed. Reminded me of Belize. I had the same at peace feeling. Is it normal I could go to bed?”

Can I just tell you how excited I am to receive this message from a friend tonight?  With no prior yoga experience she was brave to attend a Belize yoga retreat I led over a year ago. Then again, yoga retreats in Belize are far more than just yoga and we tend to explore and have a ton of fun. I wonder what made her try yoga again tonight. It’s the highlight of my night and it always makes me so happy when people begin to feel the effects of yoga on their mind and body.  I’m extra thrilled when it’s hot / power yoga. For those who are new to yoga I say give it 10 chances and at least 3 types of yoga before making any judgements. I promise you’ll eventually begin to notice something you’ve never felt before. I’m so happy that I’m down for some chaturanga dandasana before bed tonight. Namaste.

5.13.2014

Opportunity.

opportunities

Focus on problems and you will have more problems. Focus on possibilities and you will have more opportunities.

We all have problems that come up every now and then. And then there seems to be people who have ongoing problems. Problems and negative thoughts once in awhile are normal and sometimes we can even use them to challenge ourselves to grow. I’m not saying you shouldn’t acknowledge your issues because you should.  But focusing on the problem over the possibilities drains you of energy and keeps you from enjoying the present moment. Have you noticed that the more you focus on the issues the stronger they become?  Sometimes we’re challenged by circumstances outside of our control too but you can control how you respond to these situations. Be courageous and make decisions that benefit your growth. Take the steps necessary to improve yourself and your situations as soon as possible.

We create much our outside reality by the thoughts and beliefs we maintain about life in general. It’s not always easy to see the opportunities in each moment but they’re there. Shift your focus to positive thoughts and possibilities. Life is filled with endless opportunities.  Happy Tuesday!

 

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