wow (and bonus book review)

I took my first Friday yoga class in a long time last week. I would say it’s because I’m motivated by energy and determination but it was really about cake and the reason for cake.

My teacher mentioned the Friday class happy hours they have, drinks of some sort are provided after class but this week they were celebrating someone’s birthday. Facebook had a post about it and I did a double take when I saw it was for this woman’s 60th birthday. She was spending her birthday in yoga class and wanted to share it with as many people as possible. I have to say I also spent my birthday this year in yoga class, did not tell anyone because they would want to know how old I am so I let it be. This lady did not care and revels in the fact she’s entering her 6th decade. I hope I can do that too, not just the reveling part but still do downward dog and inversions when I’m 60.

She is an amazing woman and at first glance you couldn’t tell she was 60 and the mother of a grown daughter, who was also there stretching and groaning with her mom. They liked each other, something that is incredible to me since mother-daughter relations are often awkward or outright unpleasant for many of us. But they were sitting together drinking champagne and eating tiramisu , even posing for a picture smiling and sitting on each other’s laps.

I’d never met her and got up the nerve to say I came because I wanted to meet the person who wanted to have her birthday party at yoga class. I admit I also wanted to get a look at her, to see there was someone older than me in these classes. Most of the people are younger, in their 20s and 30’s and I am an old broad.  They have greater strength and can do poses I can’t, which can be somewhat discouraging but I do what I can. I admit I sometimes feel better when I see them struggle to hold a pose I can do or move from pose to pose when I’m already there. I may be old but it doesn’t mean I’m mature.

She was friendly, told us her plans and i envied her a little. She’s got her crap together. I asked how long she’s been doing yoga and she said 5 years. She didn’t want to be an old lady with a walker. I told her about Jerry’s pacemaker surgery and how people I know who are my age and even younger have those kinds of health problems. She plans to be strong, healthy and enjoy life as long as possible. Then she got a refill on her champagne.

The cake was good, a chocolate tiramisu. There were healthy snacks– veggies, hummus, whole grain crackers and fruit– as well.  I had a sip of champagne and remembered I didn’t like alcohol and went for more hummus and grapes.

The yoga studio is moving and this was my last class in the old building. It’s a cool old Craftsman house with creaky floors, noisy pipes and erratic air conditioning but with beautiful details like crown molding. Today is the last class there and tomorrow we’ll be in the new place. It’s bigger inside, will accommodate up to 40 people (supposedly) and have plenty of parking. There’s restaurants nearby, including a taco place next door so people are encouraged to go hang out after classes. I usually put on my shoes and head out but after this Friday I might linger and hang around in case someone suggests having a taco or smoothie.

I also finished reading Mile Markers The 26.2 Most Important Reasons Why Women Run by Kristin Armstrong.  It was recommended on a booklist and there’s lots of nice blurbs on back by prominent runners. I was expecting stories or first person accounts of why different women ran, their reasons and motivations. It’s a series of columns written by Armstrong, each one is about 2 pages long and they are like devotionals, short thought provoking pieces. She recycles the same central ideas and themes, about how she runs and the little epiphanies that come out during training. It’s not a bad book, it is motivational and chatty, she writes about her family and friends and her travels. But her motivations are different from mine. She enjoys running with her group of friends, making it a social activity. I prefer to run (or walk) alone because I am a curmudgeon and introvert who prefers solitude and this is one activity I can do alone, without a team or group.  She does most of her runs at the unholy hour of 5am, which I cannot do. I have to be at work at the unholy hour of 6am and I’m not a happy morning person. I prefer to do my run/jog/walk/whatever in the late afternoon and evening when I am finally awake and use it to clear my head from work or whatever has occupied me earlier. She’s a mom and there’s a fair bit of being a mom in there, which is fine for the mom demographic but other women might not relate and get bored or tired of hearing about her kids. She mentions faith, but not in an overly religious way but that could put off some readers as well (though I did like the fact she’s Catholic) but she does like wine. Which could put off some of the religious readers. She’s also the ex-wife of Lance Armstrong (I didn’t make the obvious connection til the end when she says something about him finishing the Giro d’Italia)  She doesn’t trash him or say much about him, which is decent of her and keeps the focus on running, where it belongs. Overall it’s a good book for short little bursts of motivation.  It’s a happy feel-good chick-lit kind of book and would be a good gift for someone who’s starting out. It didn’t give me the kind of motivation I was seeking but I give it a conditional recommendation based on who is the recipient.

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