Running Free and Breathing Deep

Today was a day of ups and downs. Or rather downs then ups, since I started with the former. Let me start at the beginning.

I recently decided to start running. This is a major-very-huge-ginormous-big-deal for me. I’ve spent most of my life saying I can’t run for any number of reasons. Too tired. Too boring. Too asthmatic. Two flat feet. Too HARD. Even after I refocused my energies on nutrition and fitness two years ago and started embracing a more active lifestyle, I’d always brush off running as something I just didn’t do. “I’m not a runner,” I’d say, and leave it at that.

Then my great friend Kyndra started running. For weight loss initially. And then it became a part of her. She runs for the challenge. She runs because it inspires her to try harder and be strong. And now she’s obsessed, my dear readers. So obsessed that she’s 8 weeks away from her first ever marathon. Hearing her talk about it and seeing her transformation before my eyes started to really chip away at my excuses. I mean, that’s sort of the whole point of all of this. The blog, my research, my ambition to be a nutritionist and to reach my fitness goals; to stop saying “I can’t.”

I began running about 3 weeks ago by going to the gym with my brother who’s also on a journey to take control of his weight and health. In these 3 weeks I’ve managed to double my time on a straight clip without stopping to walk and I’ve steadily increased my pace. I’m not running any races here but the fact that I can actually go over a mile without my lungs bursting or my legs catching fire is a TREMENDOUS accomplishment for me. Seriously. My last run I actually felt that I could keep pushing further, and what really astonished me was that I actually liked it. No no, I think I can say that I was starting to love running. There’s nothing like being able to actually see your progress by noting that your body can suddenly do things that it couldn’t do the month before. It’s extraordinary. I left the gym feeling high like a kite. “Man, I can’t wait to get back on my next run!” I thought.

And now we can circle back to the beginning of this story, you know, the ‘downs’ of the day. Back a the gym, on my new/old friend the treadmill, and from the beginning I knew something was off. I felt sluggish, my sides were burning, I couldn’t really get to that happy place I’ve found in my head when I enter the running zone. I had to stop. I was SO deflated. What was it? Did I eat too soon beforehand? Should I not have eaten? Did I just give up? And if so, then why did I give up so easily? It’s way too easy for me to spiral down when I get into this mental space and to lose sight of the greener side to the situation. It’s always been something that’s held me back. And so I got home, started tweeting like mad to all the running authorities to tell me what I did wrong. This stuck in my head until the second part of my day got underway. Therein, I found my “ups.”

I went to the Wanderlust Yoga in The City Festival on Pier 63 in NYC and I have to tell you, it couldn’t have been a more perfect day for this event. Not just for the weather, which was glorious today. But because after the mental beat-down that I subjected myself to, it was just the remedy my mind and body needed to come back together to a better and more positive place.

It’s been about a month since the last time I’ve done yoga and I was nervous that it wasn’t going to go so well for me this afternoon. Then again it was probably my downer alter-ego rearing its ugly head after it made its appearance this morning. Yes, hi, how are you, nice to see you again Ms. Negativity! Ugh.

Maybe it was the sun or the lovely breeze or the challenge of doing yoga on a slope on grass or the amazing and inspirational messages from the instructors throughout the session that really just worked its magic into me. Hell, I can even say that it was energy of the yoga community on that grassy lawn near the Hudson River funneling all that positivity and good spirit into my head….which is a bit more spiritual than I like to get with my yoga. I mean, let me be real here. Whatever it was, it got me loosened up enough to take my t-shirt off, let the breeze hit my back and do some poses that I haven’t pulled off in years, if ever. Check out my bridge! Which I did a total of 4 times, complete with upside-down push ups, by the way.

I had a huge smile on my face. I felt great. Energized. Buzzed. But peaceful at the same time. So this is that enlightenment that yoga practice offers?? Man, I’m so down! Bring on this yoga in the outdoors every week! You hear me out there powers that be?!?!

Once I got home and sat down to process the day, I realized I had a hard time figuring out what it all meant. Kyndra, who was at yoga with me, asked if I was going to blog about Wanderlust and I just sort of shrugged and said, “maybe if I’m inspired,” not really feeling inspired at all in that moment. But it wasn’t until I began typing that I realized what I was able to learn from the highs and lows of my day. It’s sort of what I spoke about yesterday with my Saturday Upside.

This journey I’m on that I’m logging here in this blog has brought me a profound happiness that I had forgotten I could feel. To talk to other bloggers, friends, family, and loved ones about nutrition, food, and fitness and to feel this constant excitement with each new idea has left me both humbled and extraordinarily grateful that I have been able to reach this place after sharing my head with Ms. Negativity for so long. But for all that good, there will be bad and I believe that it’s necessary for me to be reminded every now and then that this is a challenge and that it is hard. The easy part (once you’ve discovered the passion) is to pick up the ideas and absorb, but the difficult part will always be applying it, especially because there is no guarantee that it will pan out each and every single time. It never does. That’s why I know I have to face those obstacles, especially the mental ones, embrace the challenge, and beat it down instead of myself. So the next time I’m going out for that run, I’m going to do exactly what I have been doing and that’s to go after it with everything I’ve got. Even if it’s just a mile or my pace is slower than it was last time. Besides, I have to shut up Ms. Negativity somehow. A 5K by the end of this year should do it just fine. 🙂

Thanks for listening to this latest musing, readers. Are you on similar fitness journeys? Any other beginner runners out there?? I’d love to hear how you’re challenging yourselves for this last quarter of 2012 and what you hope to accomplish next year. Drop me a line!

Also, to find out more about Wanderlust Fest and Yoga Aid, you can go their sites here:

http://nyc.wanderlustfestival.com/

http://www.yogaaid.com/USA

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10 thoughts on “Running Free and Breathing Deep

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  1. I too have a love/hate relationship with running. I work out regularity and most of my life I have been pretty active. Running has always been tough. I have amazing running days, then I have days like today where I feel like I don’t have any juice in me. I just take it on a day to day basis. I came to accept that my energy or drive or whatever will be constantly changing. That acceptance has helped me tremendously to keep at it. Now if I could only get into Yoga 🙂
    Regards,
    Eva

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    1. Thanks so much for your perspective! Yes, I realized yesterday that it was important for me to realize that it’s all part of a process. That if it was always this easy than I would’ve been out there sooner. And the fact that its going to ebb and flow is what makes it interesting to me, you know? Now yoga, I definitely recommend! Try it out and see. 🙂

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      1. You’re most welcome, thank you for your reply. I feel that we as human beings like a challenge, and anything too easy would get boring. Running challenges me every single time, that is why every time I get frustrated I just keep at it. I have tried Bikram Yoga, it was so hot I wanted to run. Perhaps I should have tried the gentler version first 🙂
        Kind Regards,
        Eva

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      2. Oh goodness, Bikram scares me! I do Hatha or Vinyasa yoga and that’s been great for me. I actually used to hate yoga but then I started going to classes with good instructors and that made such a difference. It helps with the running too! I’m looking forward to the next running challenge tomorrow. 🙂 Happy Monday!

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  2. Ha ha ha It scared me too. I did 10 classes and no more. I am looking for a calming Yoga, I suppose Hatha would be good. I also feel that good instructors do make all the difference. Good luck with the running, and Happy Monday to you as well 🙂

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  3. Ms. Bella, It’s totally ok to not perform as well as you had expected. Sometimes your body just has an off day. Trust me I know how frustrating it can be. I’ve been struggling to get a 170lb Squat in the gym that I have done before at competition. The most important thing is accepting an Off Day and knowing that you’ll fight through another tough day

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    1. Thanks Nati! Yeah, I have to stop beating myself up about it. I guess I want running to work for me so much that I sometimes forget that its going to take time and patience. I’m not great with patience!! haha. Thanks for the encouragement bud. 🙂

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