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!