Tuesday, January 10, 2012

I'm taking the Yoga Journal 21-day chalenge!

We are into the final stretches of training for the Halifax Hypothermic Marathon. Things have been going fairly well, despite me getting a little confused with the schedule over the holidays and doing my 18ks two weeks early. But I'm finding that now that I've done these distances more than once, the learning curve isn't as steep.

What I have learned, however, is that training with a group is way, way more motivating that running alone.

Take my last two 18ks, for instance: two weeks ago, I ran it on my own in 2:06. I knew that was slow, for me -- my average pace was way slower than I'd run it in the past (a good argument for tracking your runs -- I use the Running Room's tool, but there are others out there).

Then, a week later, after a particuarly festive New Year's Eve and a day to recover, I ran the same distance with my friend Carol. We shaved 14 minutes off that time! Crazy! I could definitely feel the difference in my legs - with that run, I felt I was working, but it was manageable. With the previous run, it just felt like I was plodding along. Of course, it helped that we were chatting the entire time, thus keeping my mind off the run.

So one of my intentions (I don't make resolutions- they're too easy to break) for the New Year is to try and get back into group running. That run with Carol made me feel vindicated as a runner and helped me gain back my trust in my legs. I haven't gotten slow - I've just been running alone!

We'll see how the Hypo Half goes in a few weeks' time, but my goal ultimately will be to run it and have fun, as a prep for a spring half or full.

Another of my intentions since the New Year has been to sign up for the Yoga Journal 21-day challenge. Why? Because healthy minds + a healthy body = a healthy runner! I also love yoga - perhaps even more than running (though the rush you feel while running a good tempo or race is nothing like the calm you feel when you're in the zone in the middle of a good yoga class).

The challenge for this week is to do one yoga practice each day, plus one 15-minute meditation and eat one vegetarian meal. And yesterday, I did all three: a practice in the morning, followed by a vegetarian brekkie and meditation at lunch. It was nice waking up and starting the day with a nice stretch, and taking some time during a hectic day to close my eyes and simply focus on my breath.

Today was day two of the challenge. Things I learned today:

- this takes time, and effort. I had a busy day, so I didn't get to the challenge until the end of the day, after work and Zumba. I haven't even had a chance to meditate yet;
- each day in the challenge seems to be a different instructor, and a different series of poses. You kind of have to trust the process and learn to give yourself up to it, because you don't know what's coming up next. For someone who is used to practising a regular series, this can be a little frustrating at first, but also a learning experience; and
- practising yoga at home is also different from going out to a studio. You need to find the physical space to do it, as well as the equipment. I practised on my carpet the last two days, which eliminates the need for a mat but also works different muscles than normal. I also improvised a strap by using a ribbon I had in my sewing kit, and figure I could use a dictionary as a block if need be.

Trusting the process, and looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings. I also look forward to seeing if this makes any difference in my running!



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