Archive for February, 2014

I woke up this morning – at 4:35am, which happens to be a full 40 minutes before my alarm, to the sound of Fred stirring around in her crate.

And as my blurry mind came slowly into focus, waiting for the signal that puppy needed to go out, the first crystal clear thought that came to mind was

“half butterfly – I need to be sure I put half butterfly into Yin class tonight”.

Half butterfly is a yoga pose for the lower back or hamstring (or both), depending on your need. I tend to sleep in a twist, so on occasion I wake up needing a little forward bending or squatting to offset the twisting I’ve been doing most of the night.

Then almost immediately my thoughts linked through to my Yoga for Runners class (on Sundays), then further to Run the Bluegrass. I was thinking about Run the Bluegrass – it is indelibly linked to my yoga and running thinking now – before my feet hit the floor this morning. And more specifically, my thoughts went to this group of people –

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I didn’t know any of them 7 months ago. Now, through the power of social media, I interact with at least one of them every. single. day. We share encouragment, ideas – we tease the crap out of each other! We touch base on plans.

In the bright blue at right, that’s Eric Marr – the RD for Run the Bluegrass. The cowgirl with the fierce stance – that’s Rachel Crabtree – the ARD & Race Experience Coordinator. Her birthday just passed.  Susannah in the light green at right, I introduced you to her before. Mark is standing next to Rachel and Dawn is in the light blue with the braids – Friends, those two are mad-crazy with all the runs and races they do! Levi has his back to you and right now, he does not want to talk about skunks. Tracey is falling off the picture at right – he’s in my local running group and I’m lucky I caught him in the picture as we were both on the fringe taking our own shots during the tour. I could go on…

This group right here is the 2014 Ambassador group for RTB. If you’d asked me 7 months ago if I could miss a group of people this much having only met them for a weekend – I would’ve told you no. But it’s true – I miss them. I woke up with them on my mind this morning because they’re AWESOME!

I think one of the best parts of RTB, for me – is going to be getting to see this group of people again – and get to mix & mingle them in with all the friends that are coming down to Lexington with me or meeting me there. It’s not just a race – it’s like a reunion of all the coolest running people I know.

One month until the expo starts, my friends.

If you think “Cleveland Rocks!”, then it’s apparent you haven’t seen Mr. Red –

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Friends, we could all use a little more air guitar in our lives. Complete with head thrown back and ‘peace-out’ walk-off.

First Spring Training game kicks off today – which is worth a little strumming and dancing around. Reds play against Cleveland at 3:05pm (ET).

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Have fun out there today, guys!

The Reds posted on their Facebook page that it was “picture day” for the team – meaning headshots for the big screens and other media work on the to-do list.  So I thought I’d share one I like from my own stash of pics –

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It’s one thing to do all the (very necessary) media work, but the things you do when no one is watching – or you set aside the fact that 30,000 people are watching – that says a bit about who you are too.  A moment like this is seen and unseen – things are going on out on the field, but the game hasn’t started yet. Most people are only halfway paying attention, if that. Everyone is waiting on first pitch – that’s when eyes will snap to attention. So yes, for the moment you’re out there, but the things you’re doing aren’t for the crowds.

If you ask Todd Frazier, I’d bet he had forgotten all about the crowd in that moment – just him & that kid were there – you can see it in his expression.

One of the Good Life Rules – A fist-bump with a kid should ALWAYS have your full attention.

The full squad was set to report to Goodyear for Spring Training yesterday – a thing that takes anticipation of Opening Day to a whole new level here in Cincinnati. The quiet murmurings of hope begin in December with Redsfest. Smiles get bigger when the Reds Caravan takes off & finishes up in January. A little Spring-Training in the step begins when Latos, LeCure, Hoover, Leake, et al show up to the practice mound on Pitchers & Catchers Reporting Day. But – Full Squad Day – it’s like the whole city begins to vibrate with a new kind of energy.  A hum that will only begin to escalate until the first float at the Opening Day Parade starts rolling. Then, PARTY ON!

Right now, no one wants to miss a single report of what is happening in Arizona – especially the funny stuff. Arizona, I am so jealous at the fun you are having.

We are such a baseball town. And I love it!

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On a side note – was anyone else as tickled by the quote from Homer Bailey on Hal McCoy’s blog as I was?  On speaking about his now moot arbitration hearing, Bailey said “If I have to go I guess I’ll have to go buy a suit. And I don’t own a tie.” Growing up – and sometimes even now – I’ve always thought of millionaires as men in suits & ties. So thankful & amused that the world is changing to be more fun.

Congratulations on your new contract Mr. Bailey – it’s a wonderful life & I hope you never have to own a tie if you don’t want to.

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Friends, am I the only one starting to think Mother Nature has it in for my Saturday long runs?

Geez Louise! Another big snow kiss got dumped on all our sidewalks for Valentine’s Day. Makes the motivation a bit hard to come by in the early morning hours. Except for one thing –

Run the Bluegrass is 6 WEEKS OUT!

Six weeks, my friends.  According to the Florea training plans – long runs should be hitting @7-8 miles in the beginner program or 11-12 miles in the intermediate training plan. In either plan – you’re more than halfway to the finish line. I’ll be honest in saying that all this snow (& still the knee thing) has me a little bit behind. I’m in the 6-mile category, but that’s okay. It’s not my first rodeo on the half-mar and I know my body can do this if I train smart moving forward. For a run this hilly, training smart to me means cutting back on the speedwork in favor of steady-paced hill runs which alternate in intensity between treadmill hill programs (easy) and making a very hilly local cemetary my go-to running route outdoors (hard). Long runs are for getting it done wherever at whatever pace, just getting the bones and muscles used to the wear & tear of the distance.

Then recovering smart in between.

Ahhh, recovery. I love me some recovery movement. It’s part of what makes us yogis tick. I haven’t written about progress on the yoga front lately, but trust me – there’s lots going on in my teaching and training spectrum. Including – in case you missed it – one pretty BIG announcement for me.  Y’all –

I’M GOING TO BE TEACHING YOGA FOR RUN THE BLUEGRASS!!!!

I’d say the cat’s outta the bag – but we’re talking about Kentucky here. The cork’s finally out the bottle!

It’s something that has been in the works since last Summer when Eric Marr, the RD, reached out via Twitter for new ideas to make the race weekend *more* special. Having already made a connection via last year’s race recap, I said ‘what about yoga the morning after the race?’. It’s something my friends & I do the day after anyway. Eric, being the brilliant man he is, ran it past Rachel, (because second opinions are good) and the answer came back ‘HECK YEAH! LET’S DO IT!’.  They busted tail talking to Griffin Gate Marriott – getting me a great space in the race hotel to offer class – and part of my trip to Lexington last October was checking it out, so I could consider details. Done deal!

Since a huge part of my passion for yoga comes from its benefits for recovery from the rigors of other activities, offering a class as part of the race weekend experience made perfect sense to me. A way of saying one more time and in one more way – this race cares about runners. Not just about the race or the money – but about all these humans that come to the starting line for the 1000’s of reasons they bring with them.

Does RTB want you to come run hard? Yes. But they want you to play hard too (just check out all the other offerings for the ‘Experience’ weekend) – and when you’re done soaking up as much of Lexington’s awesomeness as you can, they want you to leave feeling great about all you’ve done.

Friends, it will be my privilege to host the closing event for the weekend – a yoga class which speaks to us distance runners through the language we understand best – our bodies. We’ll be stretching out the rigors of mile 9, leaving behind the after-party hangover, and acknowledging our race accomplishments before heading back to those things we do when we aren’t running our assanas off.

I want you to leave feeling great before we close the barn doors on Run the Bluegrass 2014. So – as I say in my regular yoga class offerings –

COME GET YOUR STRETCH ON!

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*Photo taken on the Buffalo Trace Distillery tour.

I’m pretty sure I’d borrow $20 from him and not pay it back.

Except that that’s a lie. But only because I’m a payer-backer. Actually – I’m a not-borrower-in-the-first-placer. But if I was a borrower-in-the-first-placer and I borrowed $20 from Arthur, and I were not a payer-backer, I wouldn’t pay him back. Follow? Then I’d see him again, and I’d ask to borrower another $20 – and ya know what? He’d give it to me. Because that’s the kind of guy Arthur is – he’s trusting.

He’d trust the woman he loved to be faithful. He’d trust the new friend he found to be true. He’d trust the motives of the newcomer, just arrived off the lake.

She isn’t. He isn’t. That guy who smells like fishiness – not so trustworthy.  This is the story of Camelot – where you’re only as good as your word.

Cincinnati Ballet staged the WORLD PREMIERE of the lover’s tale, opening this past Thursday night, and *this girl* was lucky enough to be there!

My friends, it was like Carnival on stage. Victoria Morgan, Artistic Director and CEO of Cincy Ballet, does not *do* boring in her choreography. There were so many whirling colors! Groups in movement. Puppets! There were puppet butterflies and horses! SWORDS! Oh my god! They gave Amador (as King Arthur) & Patric (as Lancelot) swords and then had them spin around! A coupla other guys too. There were a lot of guys spinning around at one point – with sharp objects – at least I think they were sharp – they flashed and clanked like metal. Wooden swords, dull swords – they don’t clank. These swords – CLANK!

Friends, there are many fantastical and magical aspects of this production – too many to credit everyone that deserves accolades. Projections on layered screens, some of the best sets I’ve ever seen in a Cincy Ballet performance and costuming perfection. That’s before we even get to the dancing.

Some things I would be remiss if I didn’t mention – no particular order:

  • The performance of Charlie Klesa as Young King Arthur in the opening scene, along with the ensemble from the Otto M. Budig Academy as Children of the Realm. I can’t recall any ballet beyond the Nutcracker that put so many children front & center – and I was extremely impressed with their technical performance.
  • Janessa Touchet as Guinevere. She is lovely. Ethereal without the accouterments of magic given other characters. It is her regal air that keeps the innocence present in her “meet cute” with Arthur – a memorable scene in itself with its use of scarf props and a butterfly puppet (given life by Julia Concepcion) – and keeps a tryst with Lancelot passionate where it could have easily taken a turn towards vulgar. Instead it was elegant.
  • Zach Grubbs (Gawain), James Gilmer (Percival) and Rodrigo Almarales (Mordred) deliver wit above and beyond the already clever choreography. Their roles offer passion, testosterone and comic relief rolled up in banded tights and flashing swords. Representing the facets of allegiance – Gawain and Percival in its highest value, Mordred in its disregard – they take the tale of Camelot to a greater level than just that of a love story. Camelot is the tale of unity, bound and then broken, beyond one person’s measure.
  • The projection elements that signified the passage of time in Arthur’s growing up kept interest and livelihood in what could have been a tedious scene.

Some things I would’ve liked to see but didn’t – though I’m no expert:

  • A longer transition between group scenes and the more intimate moments. Sometimes the group scenes were so intricate, with so many dancers onstage simultaneously, that transition to 2-3 person scenes felt rushed. I could’ve used a longer moment to process what I had just witnessed before the mood switch into the next sequence.
  • Again, speaking to transitions, I would’ve liked one more transition in the opening sequence as Arthur goes from boy to king. Having only 2 iterations of Arthur forces the dancer into playing “young” a man who is a respected leader of a country and the man who captures Guinevere’s affections.
  • More contrast between Lancelot and the rest of the knights. This is aside from always wanting to see more of my dance-crush Patric Palkens. Lancelot’s character is an outsider who comes in and sweeps Arthur off his feet – immediately becoming his trusted right-hand. There has to be something different about him that sets up that sense of trust. In this instance, his clothing and choreography blend almost too well into the existing band of brothers.
  • Sometimes the stage seemed a little unnecessarily cluttered with people. Especially the joust scenes. Horses, even puppet horses, take up space. I would’ve liked to see the crowd of dancers at the joust paired down to give more focus to the action. Coco Chanel rule applies here.
  • The ending of Arthur throwing his sword to the stars…meh. A bit cheesy for my taste. I think the point would’ve been made better if the child had – having interacted with Arthur – just laid down the sword. Turned from the bloodshed.

The story of Camelot is complex. Characters of significance are numerous. History and subtext, plentiful. Then there’s the magic – the impossibles which need to be made tangible in performance to get the story told. Morgan has to wander treacherous territory to try and make a 90-minute story physical – one misstep and the telling falls apart. On the whole, this is an incredible interpretation. Never boring. Whimsical and comical at times without losing the overarching tragedy of betrayal. Throughout the entire production, Morgan never lets us lose sight of Arthur – the vulnerability of his trust, and our hope that it is not badly invested. That we can believe with him, in our best possibility.

Especially since we owe him 20 bucks.

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Cincinnati Ballet’s telling of Camelot runs through Sunday, February 16th. The ballet’s next performance will be March 28-29th, Symphony in C (a Balanchine piece) & Boléro (also choreographed by Victoria Morgan).

The official start of Spring Training!

Although to be accurate, a lot of the players started showing up earlier this week, and a few even earlier than that (lookin’ at you Sam!). One thing I know – I’ve never shown up 1-2 weeks early for a job I didn’t LOVE.  Says a lot about our team that they’re itchin’ to get started on the work for the upcoming season.

Now – let’s LIGHT ‘EM UP!!!!

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As if I wasn’t already dragging you out to the ballet –

On one of my 40,000 visits to the vet in recent weeks with the Most Expensive Puppy I’ve Ever Had (if you’re on Twitter or FB, you already know – if you’re not on Twitter or FB, more to come on that later), my vet & I got onto the topic of my hobby photography and he suggested that I swing by what is the largest local pet adoption event that I’ve never heard of – My Furry Valentine .

Note – he gave me the flier for it because of the photography thing, NOT because he thinks I need another dog. Pretty sure he knows my hands are full playing referee with the two I have right now.

Anyway – I guess all the local shelters come together under one roof and put up all different kinds of animals that need homes on display and cross their fingers that a lot of those fuzzy (& scaley – there are reptiles too) creatures find new homes.  Kinda cool, huh? And even if you aren’t looking for a pet right now, I guess there will be vendors there too.  Mr. Vet said it’s a pretty successful event usually and thought there would be some good photo ops if I were looking to practice.

I’ve still got plenty of photos from Reds events, Run the Bluegrass events, and most recently an Acro Yoga Jam at the new yoga studio location in Louisville to go through and work on – but I think I’m going to have to fit this one in too. Because puppies. And bunnies. And kittens.

My Furry Valentine will take place:

  • Saturday, February 15th from 11AM to 7PM 
  • Sunday, February 16th from 10AM to 4PM 

at (admission & parking are free):

  • 8494 Firebird Drive
    West Chester, OH 45014

And if you see a girl sneaking pics running around the event – it might be me, so say ‘hi’!

The top searches that brought people to my blog the past 2-3 days –

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What? Is “bobbling hip” some new move I’m supposed to know about? I don’t think I’ve read Cosmo since 2001, so I might be a little behind.

This totally takes the win from the last time someone ended up here by searching for horse sperm.

(The name I lined out is not mine and I didn’t feel comfortable sharing it here.)

Um – this is coming up – like this weekend. You know, VALENTINE’S DAY weekend.  Opening night is Thursday.

And okay, so I already have tickets, but if you’re short on ideas – tickets are still available and from everything I’ve read and seen, this is going to be an AMAZING premiere.  It should not be missed. And I know some of my less artsy friends are going – the ballet, really?

I’m telling you – the ballet. Really.

There will be jousting. And puppets. I don’t care who you are, you have to like jousting and/or puppets. Maybe even jousting puppets (don’t hold me to that though, I didn’t go to the sneak previews).

Costumes that look like these –

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Image courtesy of Cincinnati Ballet

All sorts of wonder, awe and eye candy. I mean, AWE and EYE-Candy. Two separate things. Not awe-candy and eye-candy. I don’t even know what awe-candy would be. Mike & Ike’s? Watermelon Jolly Rancher Lollipops – those *are* pretty awesome.  I digress…

Go. Seriously. Go.

Also, there’s usually chocolate in the lobby at intermission. In case you wanted to get something for that Valentine that already has tickets…