An open letter to those who don't run and think they can't do yoga

This post is for those of you that say "I can't do yoga because I'm not flexible" or I can't run because I'm not fast or it doesn't feel good". Today my run sucked. Yes, you read that right. All 6 long hot heavy miles.

I thought you would want to know. Especially because last week many of you saw my Facebook picture with my little trophy for first place in my age division, 10th female over all and a 5k PR of 24:42. I'm writing this post because I want you to know getting there is NOT all rainbows and butterfly's. Somedays are just plain tough.

Don't get me wrong I love running but that doesn't mean I always like it. Just like I love doing yoga but it's sometimes very difficult to make myself get on the mat for my physical practice or my mediation practice.

So it goes with running. Today I didn't feel like running by myself. I was feeling slightly down for no particular reason. I didn't want to do the long run on my training schedule. It was hot, half the morning already gone. I was tired before I started. Every step felt like a chore and more than once I considered walking.

In running and doing yoga (because for me they go hand in hand) Not every day will be easy. Not everyday will feel good. Some days the only good part about a run is that it's over. Some days in a yoga class I can't get my breathing right or get my brain to turn off. For me there is a clear pattern, as it goes in running, as it goes in yoga, as it will go in life.

The yoga and the running teach me how to better get through the hard days of life. Each run is a lesson, each meditation practice or physical yoga practice is a lesson in life. Not every day will be a good day. Not every chore will be enjoyable while we are doing it, but it doesn't mean we shouldn't do it. I've never once regretted going for a run or getting on my yoga mat once I've finished.

I run to learn about life, I teach and take yoga to learn about life. Both yoga and running make me feel better. The lessons I learn in running and on the mat make me stronger.

The dedication is half the battle, so I implore you, don't stop because it's hard. Don't stop because you don't want to do it. Just get on the mat, just go for a run. Learn the lessons and apply them to your life. You'll thank yourself later.

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The not "fast" myth

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As far back as I can remember I've thought of myself as not fast. I was on the cross country team in grade school (I confess I hated it at the time). Even in those grueling practices I never thought of myself as fast, it never felt like I had the "natural" talent other children had. I did not stick with the running in junior high or high school. College for me did not include the desire to run. When I got out of college I knew I needed to exercise so i ran, the cheapest sport I could think of. A way to bond with my dad. Something I could easily do after or before work without a lot of fuss. I never thought I'd actually like it or do more than 3 runs a week. Little did I know I had started a love affair with running and more importantly myself.

Some people do have natural ability in running, and that is awesome, I'm in awe of some of my friends who seem to make "fast" look easy. The funny thing is the more I get to know people who are "naturally fast" the more I see how hard they work, how dedicated, and committed they are to pushing themselves harder and faster or taking time off when they need to to.

I have two legs, I have big healthy lungs, a healthy heart, therefore I have a motor. What I know now is this is what I need to be fast. It's not more or less than any other runner out there. What is making the difference is commitment, dedication and now experience.

Running is often not easy for me, but I do it anyway. I don't often feel good while doing it. I often doubt my ability to improve. Once a run is over I never regret that I did it. It makes me feel strong and healthy. Every time I choose to run over not running I feel better about myself and I feel better about my body. Running has taught me to love myself and love my body.

Yesterday I ran the Glass City Half Marathon. I ran the best race of my life. 1:51 minutes is the unofficial time. I came in 20th in my field out of 221 women between the ages 30-34. I felt great. Not only did I feel great, I think I could do better by a lot.

What if I had told myself years ago that I was fast? What if my self talk had been "I can improve by leaps and bounds if I'm committed, and dedicated". What if I had believed in myself? Maybe I would be faster by now.

Yesterday was a taste of great things to come. I know I'm fast, I know I can be faster. Faster will require more dedication, more hard work and most importantly a belief that I can. I can and I believe that you can too.

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Morning Runner

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It's saturday, a normal person would be sleeping in, instead I lay awake in my bed at 5:30 am wishing I could will my body back to sleep.   "This isn't natural I think to myself" as I proceed to lay in bed for the next hour and a half wishing that I could just sleep a bit more, after all I still feel tired.  Did I mention saturday is my only day off a week?  It seems too early to get out of bed, but I'm not sure what else I'm going to do since I'm wide awake.

I grumpily let the dog out, feed him, give him scratches and change into my running clothes.   I bundle up and put on too many layers as usual, after all who wants to be cold?  I slip out the front door hoping that I haven't woken up my roommates.  The air is brisk, still doesn't feel like spring even though it's supposed to creep up into the 60's today with actual sunshine.  The neighborhood seems still, I must be the only nerd wide awake this early on a saturday with no specific plans.  I hear the birds and the crickets, I don't hear cars or noises of other people, it's nice.  I stop and try to savor the moment of just being alone.  I take a breath of fresh cold morning air and I begin jogging.

I have a 4 mile route from my house I like to trot along, and today I fall into my own rhythm easily.  Running is feeling better and better theses days, I have a hard time understanding people's aversion to it.  Maybe it just feels good because of all the yoga I do, maybe it feels good because I don't actually push myself to get faster, I just want to run... who knows, for whatever reason it satisfies something deep inside.   The sun is starting to come up a little higher, I'm getting warmer and take off the little gloves and hat I knew I wouldn't actually need.

Spring Garden is one of the streets I run on, I wouldn't exactly call this part of it pretty.  As much as I love Greensboro, I wouldn't put most parts Spring Garden on any visitor center brochures, but at least it has a bike lane.  I'm sure I could find a nicer street to run on, but it would be harder to come up with an even 4 miles.  I doge a few rouge trash cans, run past a man smoking a cigaret, run past the "classy" Adam and Eve store.  I'm thankful it's still early and I'm alone.  I focus on my breath and the feeling of my feet touching the ground.  I relish the fact that no one needs anything from me in this moment.

When I finally turn onto the street that is my last half mile or so until home the sun is really up now and I'm pointing east.  Ah, the sun, it feels so good, I'm sweating, that was the goal.  I feel good, grounded, alive.  I run past the newest farmers market opening today that I'll be meeting my friends at shortly, I head home happy to have those 4 miles in the books before it's even 8am.

I grab a cup of coffee, give the dog more scratches, shower and meditate before walking to the farmers market/brunch with my friends.  Now what to do with the rest of the day?  Maybe a nap...

Some Mornings I DON"T Want to get Up to Run!

Do you have those days when the alarm goes off, and you wonder how many times you can hit the snooze button, before you actually, absolutely can not stay in bed any longer? Today was one of those days.  It was very difficult.  I didn't sleep well any night this past weekend, and the thought of getting out of bed this morning was not only miserable, it felt like a prison sentence.

I don't want to go run every morning that I do it.  I like running, I like having it out of the way before it gets too hot, but some mornings are just plain hard.

On mornings like today, I'm so thankful to have a running buddy! My running Buddy is Matt.  He's great!  He's gotta be one of the most inspiring people that I know.  He and his wife are incredible parents with beautiful, well behaved, bright children.  They are the type of parents that I would want to be like if I have kids.  Matt used to be my Boss and he did a great job at that too.  Now he's pursuing his P.H.D.  and some day he will inspire lots of minds in the class room.  I'm lucky to know him.

But I'm even luckier to have him as a running buddy.  If I'm going to meet him for a run in the morning I know I have to be there.  I can't skip.  He's got kids that might keep him up in the middle of the night and he still gets up to meet me and run!  I certainly don't have that kind of responsibility, so I damn well better make it out to the park to meet him.

Thankfully today was one of the mornings that I had a standing running appointment with Matt, and it was a good thing too.

I know that I might kick and scream getting out of bed in the morning.  It doesn't always feel good, honestly, sometimes I don't even want to be running (especially when I'm running up those long hard hills), but when I'm done and the clock hasn't even ticked 7am, and I know I got to run in the coolest part of the day, well, I don't think there is a better thing that I could have done than get up and run.

So today, it's a GREAT BIG THANK YOU to MATT, he's pretty awesome!

How do you power through and wake up or do the things that sometimes you find difficult?

2010 Annual Old Town Beer Run!

2010 Old Town Beer Run

It's Here and Past Already!!!  Oh how quickly things seem to come and go.

After weeks and weeks of training.  The beer run has come and gone.

Yesterday was beautiful!  I could not have asked for a better more beautiful day for our beer run.

Emily Kim and I carpooled over on this warm sunny day.

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Last Year I ran the beer run in 48 minutes.

Last year it was cold and rainy outside (the perfect weather for running).

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This year my goal was 40 minutes, but it was hot hot hot outside and I had not anticipated that.  I had been training so hard for the past few weeks and I ran more this past year than I did last year before the beer run.  I wanted to kill it on the course.  Unfortunately I started way too fast.  I think I ran the first two miles in about 15 minutes.  That is about 7 and a half minutes per mile.  I was at the front of the pack, but when I got to greensboro college I knew I could not sustain that speed.

Did you know that running is a very mental sport?  Do you know that when you are training you should be training the body as well as the mind?  I should have thought about how I would have to run differently if it was warmer outside. But I didn't.

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All I could think about is how I wanted to run it in 40mintes.  I didn't think about how weather could affect my time.  I didn't think about how to recover if I started out too fast.  I didn't think about all of those things, but I should have.  I was fuzzy at the end so I'm not sure if my time was 43, 44, or 45 minutes.  I'll check the old town time stats later this week, I'm sure they aren't up yet.  Either way it was faster than last year, but 40 minutes it was not.

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Have you ever not completed a goal?  Have you ever worked really really hard for something and fallen just short of where you wanted to be?  Maybe it was in a sport?  Maybe a project at work?  I'd love to hear about things you've worked hard for that didn't work out the way you wanted them too.  How did you respond to defeat?  Does it make you want to work all the harder the next go around?  Does it inspire you to try again, or does it take you to a dark place?

Typically I'm inspired to try harder.  What can I say, I'm persistent.  If there is something I want, well, I typically go for it.  Working hard and setting goals or bench marks is something that I enjoy.

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Overall the Beer Run was very fun.  It always is.  For me it symbolizes so much.  It symbolizes the start of me finding out who I really wanted to be as an adult.  it was the beginning of me learning to love myself and who I am as an individual.  Even though I didn't run it in 40 minutes, I still ran it and I enjoyed myself.  I cheered on other runners as they passed me and I was cheered on by runners as we passed each other.  It was good fun.  Honestly I forgot how important this run is to me.

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Even though the goal was not achieved, it was a beautiful day to exercise hard, feel the warm sun on your back.  Not to mention the guilt free beer drinking after the run makes me very happy.  It was a perfect Saturday.

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Note that I'm doing what is called double fisting in these pictures.  Note: I never double fist and I rarely rarely drink that much beer ever.

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Till Next Year!