My journey through weight loss. This time, we're doing it my way!!

Sadness depart; leave gladness in my heart February 6, 2014

Filed under: Thoughts and Things... — ladyashton @ 8:49 am
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candleSometimes I am awash with an overwhelming sense of sadness. It comes out of nowhere and completely knocks me over. If you were to ask me “what’s wrong?” or “why are you sad?” I wouldn’t be able to answer you. I just don’t know.


Tonight is one of those times.


I was fine all day at school; no problems, no worries. In fact, I had a really good day. I’ve been teaching Othello to my IB1’s and they seem to be enjoying it, which of course, makes me very happy.


So why do I feel so very sad?


If I am honest with myself, I know I am upset that Adam is leaving for Nepal next Thursday. He is taking some students on a service trip and he’ll be gone for ten days. I don’t relish the idea of being without him for so long. Call me a romantic, but I look forward to our evenings together, once our daughter is in bed and we can just enjoy each other’s company. Even after nearly twelve years of marriage, I can still say that he is my best friend. I will miss him while he is gone.


Of course, that is not the only reason why I am sad. If I am really honest with myself, I know I am struggling with being “mindful” all the time. Last night, I lost my temper a bit when I was out running. I saw a couple ahead of me walking leisurely and I was gaining on them. I yelled “excuse me,” but they didn’t move. As I got closer, I repeated myself, but still no movement from said couple. I was practically running them over (no pun intended) when I sarcastically said “excuse me!” and pushed one of them out of the way. I felt terrible. I also felt angry that they provoked me to respond this way. But did they? Did they really? Perhaps they didn’t hear me. Perhaps they were so engrossed in their conversation that they didn’t realise I was coming up behind them like a bat outta hell.


No, I’m pretty sure they were just ignorant.


But this upsets me. It upsets me that I actually pushed someone; even worse, it upsets me that I allowed myself to be taken in by frustration. I am sure a lapse in mindfulness is normal, but as someone who is determined to observe the best in those around me, it feels like a setback. While I am sure I will be back to my effervescent self tomorrow, right now, all I need is a good cry. I need to release all the negative emotions and make room for more positive ones.


Deep breath. One more. Deep breath. One more time. Deep breath.




Sriracha: Friend or Foe? February 5, 2014

Filed under: Thoughts and Things... — ladyashton @ 11:03 am
Tags: ,
Yes, weird pace, I know. Read on to find out why...

Yes, weird pace, I know. Read on to find out why…


So today I learned a valuable lesson: don’t eat hot sauce before going for a run.


And not just any hot sauce: Sriracha sauce.


I first learned about the wonders of Sriracha whilst reading The Oatmeal, one of my favourite websites. Matthew Inman, author of this amazing site, has a number of comics dedicated to Sriracha. One day I asked myself, “Self, what is this Sriracha that he speaks of so highly?” and thus I began my quest for the red elixir of om-nom-nom.


Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it anywhere in Singapore (and when I say “anywhere,” I mean the two main grocery stores I frequent. I certainly didn’t run all over the island looking for Sriracha). Lucky for me, my mom was coming from Canada to visit us in December and she asked me what I would like her to bring.



Oh Sriracha...!

Oh Sriracha…!


Thus, my love for this hot sauce in the simple plastic bottle was born.


I like to put Sriracha on pretty much anything. Adam says it kills the taste of the food, but I disagree. I think it enhances everything I eat. It makes my mouth feel like it’s biting into a fresh chili pepper exploding with heat. I love that intake of breath, that numbness on my tongue, that feeling of clarity in my sinuses. It’s like a cure-all for everything!


Everything except running.


I made the mistake (delicious mistake!) of putting Sriracha on my veg burrito tonight during dinner. I didn’t think twice about it. We ate around 6pm, I went out for a run at 8:30. Never, in my wildest dreams, did I ever think that Sriracha would come back to visit me once I started running.


I could feel my heart beating faster. Not just faster, though…different. Like heart burn, but sharper. Like…like…chili peppers were rubbing their naked skin onto my heart. Did it feel good? Nooo…it felt…I don’t know. It just felt like Sriracha. In my chest. Goading me.


But how could something I love so much hurt me at the same time? Ah, the age-old question. As the wise scribes of Def Leppard once wrote, “love bites, love bleeds, it’s bringing me to my knees…” Clearly, they were referring to Sriracha.


Well, lucky for me (and Sriracha!), the annoyance in my chest didn’t stop me. It slowed me down, but it didn’t stop me. I went out and ran my 5K along a different route. This also seemed to slow me down as I hadn’t realised that this particular route was riddled with stop lights. So here I am, running along, when all of a sudden, I come to a corner where the light is red. I am hopping up and down waiting for the light to change, not wanting my heart rate to slow down. This is why my pace was all wonky today.


Stop lights. That’s it.


I know it wasn’t the Sriracha that slowed me down. I could feel it in my heart…


In the long run… January 27, 2014

Filed under: Thoughts and Things... — ladyashton @ 9:12 am
Tags: ,
Not a PB for my 8K, but a really good run nonetheless.

Not a PB for my 8K, but a really good run nonetheless.


Ah, yes. Sunday yesterday. For most, a day of rest, but for me, the thought of my long run was on my mind all day.


All day long.


We started off by spending most of the afternoon at the Gardens by the Bay. They had some new displays at the Cloud Forest and the Flower Dome and I knew my mom would enjoy both. Indeed, she did (as did we). Walking around GBTB takes hours. I’m pretty sure we strolled around for a good four hours before finally hailing a cab home. Once home, my mind immediately turned to prepping for my long run. I thought I’d be doing it solo, but Adam volunteered to run it with me.


[OK, when I say “volunteered,” what I really mean is that I kind of coaxed him into it. Like, “Do you wanna run 8K with me?” “8K??” “Yeah, it’s only 3K more than we usually run. You can do it!” So yeah…volunteered.]


It was really lovely. I feel spoiled to be able to run with my husband while my mom is at home watching Ella. I know this will all end once she flies home to Canada, but for the time being, I am truly enjoying this “date running” with Adam. Bliss!


And by “bliss” I mean “sweating profusely.”


How come during the day, the breeze is blowing consistently against me, cooling me down as I walk through tropical gardens, but in the late afternoon, when I am pounding the pavement and counting down the kilometres, the breeze is non-existent? It’s like Mother Nature is mocking me in her day-to-day activities. Cut me some slack, Momma Nature!


Yes well, I think I got my point across.


No running, no cry January 24, 2014

Filed under: Thoughts and Things... — ladyashton @ 8:24 am

My hamstrings have been aching since Tuesday night’s yoga class. Our yogi really worked on our lower body strength so I’m assuming that’s why; however, I thought for sure the ache would be gone by now. I went for my usual 5K run last night, and let me tell you, it was not pretty. I felt like I couldn’t go faster because the backs of my thighs were so tight! No PB last night, but at least I got out there.


My time & pace from yesterday's run.

My time & pace from yesterday’s run.


Tonight is a different story altogether. Tonight I am not going to run.




That’s right. I’ve decided not to run. As much as I hate to admit it, I think I need to give my legs a rest. I’ll be honest with you, I feel guilty about it, but not guilty enough to get out there. As we were running last night, I had an interesting conversation with my husband. He said it’s more important for me to listen to my body and rest when I need to than risk a more serious injury by not taking care of myself. As much as I hate to admit it, he’s right. I’ve run through injury before (remember the plantar fasciitis from last year?) and it did not end well. So now I’ve decided to listen to my body and actually heed what it’s telling me. I plan to get out there again tomorrow, but for now, I wish to remain injury free for as long as possible.


And there ain’t no crying (or guilt) in that!


HIIT me with your best shot! January 22, 2014

Filed under: Thoughts and Things... — ladyashton @ 11:00 am
The only two things I need when I do HIIT.

The only two things I need when I do HIIT.


Ever have one of those days where you’re so tired, you fall asleep at your laptop? The kind of 10 second deep sleep where your eyes are closed, but your fingers are typing something unintelligible? That happened to me today just before lunch. I was sitting at my desk, listening to classical music, getting some work done, when all of a sudden, my eyelids drooped over, my head was a-fog, but my fingers kept typing. I opened my eyes seconds later to see the following sequence of letters on my laptop screen:


gooooood audibibibib adn paceeee sssss


I think I was marking an IOP at the time. My brain tells me it should have said “good audibility and pace,” but I’m not sure…


Anyway, I came home after school and had a cup of coffee (my first of the day), then laid down for a nap. I fully expected to go for a run later in the evening, but when I woke up, I wanted to do something different. My hamstrings were tight from last night’s yoga so I didn’t necessarily want to go for a 5K run; however, I still needed to do something.


In comes HIIT.


Those of you in the know know that I’ve done this before. HIIT is a great way to condition your body and build endurance (read this article from Runner’s World for more info). I felt that I needed to do this tonight…maybe I’ll even work it into my weekly running schedule. An hour after dinner, I changed my clothes and walked downstairs to the gym. I am much more comfortable completing HIIT on the treadmill than on the track; I find it more accurate in terms of pace and time. Well, 30 minutes of HIIT and I was sweating up a storm of swords. My heart rate was up, my body was aching (in a good way), and my breathing was quick. Success!


If you feel you need a break from your regular running schedule, I highly recommend HIIT. Pat Benatar would approve.




Yoga-bba Gabba January 21, 2014

Filed under: Thoughts and Things... — ladyashton @ 10:17 am

namasteTuesday night is Yoga Night.


I have been taking a yoga class here at my condo since the end of 2013. Once a week, our Yogi arrives, mats and yoga bricks in tow, ready to lead us in a 90 minute class of deep breathing, deep stretching, and deep thinking. He always begins the class by reminding us to be mindful of ourselves and those around us (this is where I got the idea for my mindfulness goal of 2014). I like this part of the class; I can actually feel my body relaxing. I am aware of every breath I take. I try to empty my mind as much as possible. I close my eyes; my breathing becomes deeper and deeper. I can still hear him speaking to us, leading us in breathing exercises before we move on to our full body yoga poses. I am one with my mat.


No seriously, I have fallen forward onto my mat.


I like to think of myself as a graceful swan, moving through each pose with my wings gliding up and down, in and out of namaste. Most of the time, however, I am more like a baby giraffe: legs and arms flailing, slipping on my own feet, trying my best to stay balanced. I’m glad there are no mirrors about.


Regardless of my occasional lack of coordination, I enjoy this class because of my Yogi. He has a very soothing voice. He does all the poses with us (to perfection, I might add) and helps us when we need a slight tug, lift, or pull. Tonight I discovered something very interesting about him–something that made me jump out of Balasana (child’s pose). We were attempting Ustrasana (camel pose) when he softly told us that we could push ourselves further if we wished by going into a modified bridge pose from Ustrasana. He demonstrated for us, and then said, “I never attempted this pose until I was well into my 50’s.” Immediately, my eyes popped open. I sat up and exclaimed, “Wait…just how old are you?” He smiled. “56,” he said. I was shocked. I think the shock on my face was evident because he quickly added, “I look a lot younger than my friends.” Yeah, I’ll bet!


Is this what yoga can do to you? Make you look years younger? I swear, I thought he was younger than me, or at the most, my age. It made me even more determined to continue with my yoga practice, my meditations, my mindfulness. When I am 56, I want to look 40, or better yet, 35.


Now, if only I could sit up from Balasana…


Running Mindfully January 20, 2014

Filed under: Thoughts and Things... — ladyashton @ 10:36 am
Tags: , ,

Shortly after dinner tonight, I went for my 5K run. Well, when I say “shortly,” what I really mean is nearly two hours later. Anyway, I thought I had given myself plenty of time to digest dinner and go for a good run. Well, I did have a good run, until my mind started to take control of my achievement.


I did not hit a PB. I did not run fast. I did not feel exhilarated after my run. I just ran. And I ran 5K. Period. However, as I was stretching, I was reflecting on my run and coming up with all sorts of excuses for my “bad time.”


“I ran too soon after eating. I shouldn’t have done that.”


“I’m still tired from yesterday (and the day before). I should have taken today off.”


“The wind was blowing against me; it hurt my stride.”


“Adam wasn’t with me today to help me keep pace.”


And so on and so forth. I mean, you get the drill, right?


Thankfully, I began thinking of one of my goals for 2014: to be more mindful. Then my thinking began to change.


So what have I achieved tonight? I ran 5K. Do I feel good having gone out and run? Yes. Would I have rather stayed home? Hell no! Will I go out again tomorrow? Yes. Do I remember when I could barely run at all? Yes yes!! Shouldn’t I be proud of myself, then? *hangs head in shame* Yes.


Of course, being mindful is something I need to practice on a regular basis. In fact, I find myself practicing it all the time. Taking a deep breath when things begin to bother me. Looking for the positive when faced with something negative. Letting things go.


Letting things go.


Things go.




Go run.


Go run mindfully.