I Surrender!

So, I have finally decided or at least am admitting that I’ve decided. I think my mind decided a long time ago, but I’m finally surrendering to the decision. I am NOT going to run in the Akron 1/2 Marathon the end of September. Yes, I have already registered for it and paid like $75 or something like that. Yes, it is the 10th anniversary year of the race in Akron. Yes, last year I ran my first full in Akron (conquered the Blue Line!!). And yes, I know two amazing warrior friends of mine who are running the half this year. Sounds like tons of reasons to run the race, right? So why the heck am I not running?!! Glad you asked! First of all, when I registered for the race a few months ago I didn’t know if I would be admitted into the yoga teacher training program or not. So I went ahead and registered to get the discount registration fee (kinda funny now, huh!), hoped for the best and made a training schedule that would allow me to do both things. However, once I started teacher training it became clear this would be really challenging – not too much physically, but in terms of time. Well, actually, to be honest, even before teacher training I was not motivated to train. I did not do one long run – the long runs start at 5 miles and I had an excuse every time the weekend came along about why I couldn’t do it. It wasn’t the physical hard work I could’t do, it was just that my mind wasn’t committed to it. I got about three long runs behind and still thought I could catch up. Every time I walked by the refrigerator my neglected training program was there taunting me. I felt badly because I was behind and I worried about it and stewed about what to do. Friends encouraged me to keep going and just pick up at the beginning, assuring me I could still do it even I had to run/walk it instead. Ugh. That could work, I guess, but in my heart I knew I wouldn’t be happy with the outcome that plan would produce. My heart just was not into training for a race right now, but I just didn’t want to feel like I was giving up for all the reasons I mentioned before. Thinking more about it, however, I realized that what I really didn’t want to give up was the medal and the glory of the finish. I wanted the experience and the thrill of the race day with the same outcome (time) as before, but WITHOUT THE WORK!! Plus all this worry about what I wasn’t doing for my running training was sucking up energy I needed to enjoy my yoga teacher training!! I mean here was something I not only was dedicated to, but I paid money (quite a bit of it!) to do it. I want to be able to give 100% so I can fully enjoy the experience without added worry stress about running.

Of course I can relate this situation to yoga in terms of the yamas. Aparigraha or non-possessiveness is the idea that we need not to be attached to things. I think this story from my Yamas and Niyamas book sums it up pretty well:

I am fascinated by an ancient process of capturing monkeys in India. Like the breath and trapeze artist, this process gives us insights into how we stay attached to objects of life and how deadly that can become. In this process of catching monkeys, small cages with narrow bars are made and a banana is placed inside the cage. The monkeys come along, reach in between the bars, and grab the banana. Then the monkeys begin the impossible task of trying to pull the banana through the bars. And here is the amazing thing – in the moment when the monkey catchers come along, the monkeys are totally free. There is nothing keeping them from running off to safety as they hear danger approach. All they have to do is to let go of the banana. Instead, they refuse to release the banana and are easily taken into captivity.

“Bananas” for us are anything we expect to give us the same fulfillment the second and third time. When we expect our spouse to make us feel good like they did the evening before, or when we expect a dinner out to satisfy us like it did the last time, or when we expect to be appreciated like we were yesterday, indeed anytime we want the same “feel good” results, we are “holding on the banana”. Our expectations keep us captive and often are disgruntled.

So my motivation for this race is NOT like before and I’m letting go of the expectation that it has to be.

So I say no! I’m dropping my banana and I’m not running this race this time. I am giving up the medal, the shirt and the rest of the swag that I would have gotten if I would have run the race this year. No more fighting myself and the training program. I surrender and I finally feel at peace with the decision that I have been trying to make for weeks. Well, at least for tonight, that is!

Just two activities today!

Wed, Aug 1

Yoga at 6am –

Ran at Lunch – I ran at lunch today with Mary Ann and Hillary, a new warrior! Hillary is an awesome athlete who has done one Olympic triathlon and at least one Sprint one. She has a sprint tri this weekend and an Olympic one in two weeks! She is a beast!! She was going slow for us today I think, but she didn’t seem to mind! We ran 4.6 miles in about 52 minutes with an average pace of 11’24”. We walked a bit at two different time. It was good, but hot again at 85 degrees! Even thought it is hot at lunch, I seem to be able to get more motivated to run with other people these days. Hey, whatever works!

One more week!

Tues, July 31
6am Yoga

It was another Charry workout so it was really hard, but good! She always incorporates different stretches or poses into class which makes it really fun, interesting and challenging. A week from today I begin my yoga teacher training! I’m getting excited and nervous too. Should be fun. I’ve got all my books…now I just have to get a cool notebook to use to take notes, etc. Looking forward to it. Namaste.

Breathe, Run, Kick

Monday, July 30
So you have heard of Swim, Bike, Run? Well how about Breath, Run, Kick? No?! Well that describes my activity today in three words. I have done it only a few other times, but today I busted out the trifecta of activity:

Yoga at 6am – It was a hard one too! Charry had us practicing doing handstands up the wall and a number of other strengthening poses to set us up to do handstand. I couldn’t quite get handstand today, but I did do forearm handstand which was very cool! It was the first time and I had to yell out to the class, “I did it!”.

Ran at Lunch – The 4 warriors were together again today at lunch! Angie was in town to do the final walk through in her old apartment so she suggested we all run together. No prob! We an 2.8 miles in 29:57 with an average pace of 10’35” which felt pretty fast for me! It was 87 degrees so it was another hot one, but fun because we were all together! They really do push me; I would have wanted to walk a bit or run slower by myself.

Kick-boxing at 7pm – I still felt pretty good tonight after dinner so I decided to go to the kick-boxing class! It was great!

So yeah, three workouts, three showers and three sports bras in a day! That is a win!

Yoga Week!

July 23 – July 27
So I didn’t get the chance to blog about my training this week…too busy with Mommy Camp! So I decided to do a summary of what I did this week…
Monday – Power Yoga at 9:30am
Tuesday – Power Yoga at 6am
Wednesday – Power Yoga at 6am; Togetherness Yoga with Zach at 11am; Kick-boxing at Asian Sun with Mike
Thursday – Power Yoga at 6am
Friday – Yoga Stretch at 6am with Mike
Saturday – Power Yoga at 9am (90 min)
Sunday – Yoga Stretch at 7:45am with Mike

So yeah. I did some yoga – 7 days straight (and still counting!) and 8 classes. No running this week, but that is okay!

Push Your Edge

Wed, July 18
Ran 51:18 minutes outside in 93 degree heat at noon!
Distance: 4.46 miles; Average Pace: 11’29”

So I was prepped and ready to run on the treadmill today. I had heard it was going to be hot again – in the 90’s; same old thing as the last few days. But when I met my fellow warrior (Mary Ann) in the locker room she said she had just looked up the weather and that it was only going to be 83 degrees and that was the real feel. So she suggested we go outside. Hmmm, I thought. I do prefer running outside over the tread and if it will only be in the lower 80’s that might be doable. We hemmed and hawed a bit and then decided to just give it a go outside. Since I had to do 40 minutes we decided to do our 4 miler. We didn’t even look at the temperature thing when we started (good thing). We started out okay and it didn’t feel that bad. Around about 2 miles it got tough. I had to walk a bit. We even stopped in the Shaker Library for a drink in the drinking fountain. There were a couple other times I had to walk. It was pretty miserable, but not totally awful. Just after running up the Belvoir hill we started walking another little bit and we heard familiar voices behind us. What I heard was, “Hey, Lisa…” and then the Charlie Brown teacher’s voice mumble. But in my mind I heard a competitive chide coming from some JCU runner colleagues. I immediately took off running, leaving Mary Ann to fend for herself! After I started my bolt back to campus, and as the voices got nearer I heard our runner friends say something like, “Geez, Lisa, all we said was we would run in with you guys and you took off! What is this a competition?” Mary Ann, who was now running with the pack too was cracking up at me! I don’t know where that extra energy came from at all. I just all of a sudden felt this competitive streak happening…something about “whatever boys can do, girls can do too” or something and I just got motivated to bust it out!! So they were making fun of me as we ran the last 1/3 mile back to campus. As we were walking towards the building we saw the temp scroll by and Mary Ann and I about died. 93 degrees!! So much for 83!! I suddenly felt better about all the walking and MA and I certainly earned some cred from the boys today. I have never run at that temperature outside before. Yikes! Lots of water and a totally cold shower followed. I’m glad I didn’t look at the temp when we started running (that would have psyched me out more) and I’m glad we ran outside. Like I told the group today, if you never push yourself to your edge, you will never know where your edge is. I know, I know, Deep Thoughts, by Lisa Ramsey. Knock it off.

What’s Up, Dog?!

Tues, July 17
6am Yoga

Today’s practice was awesome, as always. I was a sweaty mess, but that is okay. The funniest thing, though, was the canine visitor we had. At the very beginning of practice we were all in hero’s pose with our eyes closed. All of a sudden I heard panting and Mia, Amy’s Newfoundland dog, comes walking in and makes a beeline for Amy to give her a great, big kiss! I opened my eyes to witness it and I then I could not keep from giggling! The door was closed so I think the dog totally opened it on her own. What a total crack up! She’s is a total doll, that dog, and usually she is sacked out in the outer area with not a care in the world. She just needed to express her affection right then, and there, I guess. Done and done!

Yoga at noon
Great practice with fans. It was really hot in there and it took me a long time to cool down.

Don’t Dread the Tread!

Mon, July 16
Ran 35 minutes on the treadmill at lunch
Distance: 3.5 miles; Average Pace: 9’47” (according to the watch; the treadmill said 10:47; speed was 5.6)

So this running thing? Yeah, about that…I was on deck to do a five-miler yesterday and I did not complete said workout. Too tired from my awesome date night at the Melting Pot the night before! Anywho….

So I decided I would get up this morning to run since it was going to hot as blazes in the afternoon again. Nope. That surely did not happen. I didn’t even do yoga this morning. Monday molasses invaded. So, I reluctantly packed up my running stuff and trudged off to work thinking I would run on the treadmill. And guess what? I did! And it actually did not suck! I felt pretty darn good, actually!! That is a win! I did my 35 minutes, no sweat. Well, yes, there was sweat, but not as much as there would have been had I gone outside where the real feel was somewhere between 95 degrees and the sun. The cool down was a whole lot less dramatic too. There actually was cool down and I could actually add some hot to my shower! What a concept!

Next up: Yoga Squared tomorrow. Gotta bring my cheap mat so I can was the other one!

Focus Through Distractions

Sat, July 14

Today’s class was a reminder to me about focusing through distractions. I was reminded of this almost right from the get-go on my mat. My mat has this tendency to slip forward these days ever since I washed it so I tend to slide way forward to another person’s spot by the end of class. Not only that, but I also notice that it tends to slip and move underneath my feet causing me to have to catch my balance more than normal. It is a bit distracting and I need to figure it out and learn how to wash it more effectively so it doesn’t slip (or buy a new mat!). But it got me thinking. What do we do when our world shifts beneath us? What do we do when things get turned upside down and throw us off balance in life. Can we still maintain our focus on the task at hand or do we get frustrated and give up? As I started thinking about this other distractions started happening in the class, almost on cue. First, Mia, Amy’s big black dog opened the door of the yoga studio and peaked in. I saw her as I was in downward facing dog (oh, yes, the irony) and I heard people giggling and Amy say, “oh, look, we have some interest” as she shooed her out and closed the door again. It was a crack up and I was reminded why I love the Yoga Lounge so much – I mean, if you can bring your dog to your place of work, I’m automatically a fan. But again, another, although funny, brief distraction. Next, towards the beginning of the class there was a woman who stopped in the middle of her practice to jot some notes down in her notebook or journal right next to her mat. Very strange and I caught myself watching her in my down-dog and wondering if she was a reporter, an author or what? Another odd distraction. Lastly, towards the end of the class someone’s cell phone went off, on vibrate, and buzzed for a few rings until the woman was able to shut if off. I immediately caught myself judging her and thinking she was an idiot for not leaving her cell phone in the outer area. I was distracted my these thoughts and so I missed part of the story Amy was sharing. I mean, maybe she was waiting for an important phone call about someone who needed her? I really don’t think this was the case at all, by the way, however, but the point is that I didn’t give her the benefit of the doubt at all and immediately judged her. Having all these distractions in one class is very unusual so I knew there was a lesson in there somewhere for me. We are going to be distracted by things out of our control that is for sure. But how do we keep moving forward, maintaining our balance, and withholding judgments in order to be our true authentic selves and open ourselves up to treat others with dignity and kindness? We have a choice to make when we are faced with distractions – give up, fall and stay defeated or get back up, breathe and try again. As always I am grateful to my yoga teachers, my fellow yogis and for the opportunity to continue learning about life through this wonderful practice. Namaste.

Take That Universe!

Fri, July 13
Ran about 27 minutes
Distance – ??
Temp – 87 degrees!

Well, if that was a test – I think I passed! My original plan was to run this morning so I could go to yoga at noon today, but I chose to cuddle with the puppy dog this morning instead. So, I packed up my stuff and resigned myself to a hot and sticky run at noon. Then I get the locker room and see all my yoga pals getting ready to go. Oh, my, yoga sounds delightful right about now I said to myself and actually outloud too. But, I had committed to running and had my running clothes already on. I go to slip my watch on and it is completely dead (which is weird by the way because it was full on Monday! The button may have been inadvertently on or something because it was totally dead). I share this with my friends in the locker room and they all say, “see you need to go to yoga!” and I was thinking the same thing. I had even put some yoga clothes in my bag “just in case”. Ugh, universe, what am I supposed to do here? Yes, the easy thing would be to change into yoga clothes and bag the run, but I refused to do the easy thing today. I had had a stressful morning and needed to get the stress relief that sometimes only a run can bring. So, I put the watch back in my locker and headed out.

Running by myself and with no watch was actually pretty freeing. I even ran a different route than normal – did a loop. I ran about 27 minutes – was supposed to go 35, but it was 87 degrees so I’ll consider that a win. I’m not sure exactly how far I ran, but I would imagine it was a little shy of 3 miles. I may clock it on my way home. Running by feel really has its merits. Even those times when I say I’m not gonna look at my watch much I still do and feel the pressure. So, long story short. Victory! I feel like I earned my sweatband’s expression today!