On Not Running

I have barely run since Eugene.

At first it was on purpose. I wanted to take the entire week off after the race to thank my legs for the butt kickin’ they did. Then all of a sudden May had disappeared and I had run a whooping six miles.

What happened? Tech week! My show. The busiest time of year at my job. Teacher Training. I just couldn’t fit it in even if I wanted to, and you know what? That’s okay. I don’t live a life of regular schedules and routines. I live a life of constantly shifting obligations, strange hours, and odd jobs. Sometimes certain things (making money! spending my rare free time with friends!) take precedent.

The great news is, just because something (running!) takes the backseat for awhile doesn’t mean it’s gone forever. In fact my hiatus has made me long for running regularly again. Starting next week I’m going to jump back in and build up my base. I can’t wait!

My show closed and I graduate from teacher training this week. I’m ready to shift out of CHAOS MODE and into taking control mode. Groovy. No race plans yet, but I’ll get there!

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Eugene Marathon Race Recap

I was up before my alarm went off on race morning and ready to go.

Silas and Emma got up with me, too. It was so nice to eat breakfast and drink coffee with them. Having awesome company really eases the pre-race jitters!

Everything went so smoothly! Since Silas’ uncle had shown us around the night before we had no problems getting to the start near Hayward Field. Parking was a breeze (probably ’cause we got there so dang early) and we had time to just sit in the car, stay warm, and listen to sweet jams on the radio. We were a wee bit slap happy and may or may not have had a 6am dance party in the car.

Finally we headed towards the start. Silas had me stretch and gave me a pre-race massage (I am spoiled).

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I wanted to represent Boston in SOME way so Emma wrote “Boston is my home” across my thighs. I am nothing if not classy!

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I had a lot of feelings going into this race. This was the first time I had a honest to goodness time goal. Previously I WANTED to qualify for Boston, but I hadn’t necessarily trained for it. It was just a “that would be nice!” thought. If I didn’t get it, no big deal!

This time I made no bones about it. I told everybody that was my goal and that, to me, was terrifying to admit because it was no longer a secret desire. It was out and in the world. So that meant I was really commiting. Crazy!

Everytime I had a doubt before the race I shoved it out of mind. And trust me, I had endless doubts (Did I train hard enough? Sleep enough? Eat well enough? Can I actually do this? Would my knee pain pop up? Why do I think I can do this?!), but I just told myself to shut the heck up. All I could do was show up on race day and trust in my own ability. My training. Yada yada.

But race morning I was pumped. I had waited so long for this race and I put in so many difficult runs to get there. I had all this restless, eager energy bubbling up and I wanted to kick this race’s butt! And having Silas and Emma there really put me in a positive, gung ho place!

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And then it was time to line up in my corral. There was a HUGE group around the 3:35 pacer and I couldn’t even get close. So I just made sure I was close enough to see them and waited for the “go!”. There was a moment of silence for the Boston Marathon victims. I used that time to focus and dedicate my run to my city and all of the horrible shit it had to go through 12 days prior. I thought about how lucky I was to get to run. And then it was go time.

It was CROWDED to start out with. The first 4 miles or so I couldn’t even get near the pacer. I tried to focus on my surroundings, but I was lost in a sea of people. So I just kept my eyes on the pacer’s balloons as I settled into my groove. Honestly, the beginning of the race was kind of a blur and I hardly remember it! I finally caught up to the pacer around Mile 5 in time to hear a woman sigh and say “21 miles to go”. Pacer man aka Mike shot back “no counting down until Mile 20!!!”.

I knew I’d like this guy.

I was feeling really good. I took a gu at mile 6 and noticed how fresh my legs felt. I knew that I still had a loooong way to go, but instead of dwelling on that I embraced the pure running joy while it was around.

At Mile 8 there was a slight hill, but there was also a corgi puppy so….it was all good 😉 I knew it was the only hill so once we got over it I picked up the pace for a bit and left the pacer behind for a few miles. He caught up with me again around mile 11 so I just stuck with him, not wanting to burn out too early.

Hmm, it’s striking me as very difficult to recap this race in detail because it WAS such a blur. So screw it. Bullet points of things that I thought/felt/saw.

– I didn’t turn on music until Mile 15 because to me 15 – 18 are the hardest. I promised myself if I made it through Mile 18 on pace that I could, indeed, do it! And you know what? Miles 15 – 18 FLEW by. Ummm. That didn’t happen my last two marathons!!

– This course was beautiful! So many tree lined paths. So many gorgeous views of the river. I was so, so happy to be in the moment and taking in the fresh air, reacting to spectators, and just listening to the people running around me.

– I kept telling myself I would not hit the wall. Not today. I’m not sure if the mental talk did it or if my fueling was just spot on, but I never hit the wall! More on that later.

– At Mile 16 Emma and Silas found me!! I heard my name and couldn’t believe it! I was so, so happy to see them! And they had found cowbells!!! Just the thing I needed!

– At Mile 17 or so Mike the pacer told us to encourage every walker we saw because they’d been whooping our ass all race. So everytime we saw a runner walking we all shouted “You can do it!!! Join us!!” One guy took a deep breath and started running with us and we all cheered! I almost starting tearing up. Yes. I am a sap. Especially at Mile 17 of a marathon!

– At Mile 20 Mike asked me what my PR was. I told him and he said “Oh, you are going to beat that today!”. I told him I hoped so and that I felt oddly good for Mile 20 of a marathon. He smiled and said “See?”.

This is where it really became my race. After 20 miles of running for the first time in my life I had a kick! I left the safety net of my pace group and ran ahead. Partly terrified I’d fall apart, but mostly just trying to stay in the moment. I told myself I’d run 6 miles a million times before and that all I had to do was “run it in”.

Run it in became my mantra for the rest of the race. I was fairly ahead of the pacer and I got to the point where I couldn’t even see him anymore. I told myself that I had this. That I could really do it. Anytime a negative thought crept in I shut it out. Ain’t nobody got time for self doubt! I told myself this is why I did all that speedwork! This is why I trained! So I could feel strong and PUSH those last 6 miles.

At one point a girl with her dog hopped into the race to encourage her friend. She dropped her phone. I picked it up, but she had sprinted ahead and there was no way I could catch her at this point! I kept shouting “girl! Girl with dog! PHONE!!”. Finally she veered back off the course to cheer and I got her attention. I was so happy I didn’t have to sprint to catch up!!!

At Mile 22 my gps watch stopped getting a signal so I had no idea what my pace was. I didn’t care. I just plugged along. At mile 23.5 or so my watch said 22.2 and I had this moment of “oh shit, did I hallucinate that mile 23 marker?!!” when I got to the mile 24 marker I almost started laughing with relief. Two miles! TWO MILES. Giddiness was creeping in. I could taste the finish line!!! Mile 25 zoomed by…probably because I was just so happy it wasn’t mile 23! The last mile was TOUGH though. It was a windong path through an open field and I thought “where the EF is Hayward?!?!”. Just run it in. That’s all I had to do. I kept telling myself that. You are going to do it. You are doing it right now!!!

After what seemed like 1000 years I saw the corrals where we started in front of Hayward. I kept moving. My feet hit the track and before I knew it I was crossing the finish line. I could hear Emma and Silas shouting in the grandstands. The gun time was 3:35:10 as I crossed and I knew I had started more than a minute after the gun! I can’t even tell you how surreal and wonderful that moment was. All of the hard work. All of that training. It had given me the best race of my life. I never fell apart! I never hit the wall. I truly loved every single moment of that race. Even when it was tough! It was my first ever negative split (finally!!) and I ran the second half faster than I ran my terrible tune up half a month ago. How hilarious is that! It goes to show you one awful race doesn’t mean anything.

3:33:05 was my chip time and I could not be happier. Ahhh! I still can’t believe it!! After the race I found Emma and Silas and gave them huge sweaty hugs and kept saying “I did it!”. Ha! I’m such a dork, but I really just couldn’t wrap my mind around it.

They had brought the mead we’d gotten the day before and we shared it as we walked to a nearby restaurant to stuff our faces. I was also finally able to check my phone and see all of the wonderful words of support sent my way while I was running (my favorite was probably Katie who texted me “run, bitch, run!”). To everybody who thought of me/tracked me that day…Thank you. It meant the world to me.

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That race made me fall in love with running all over again. It also made me so thankful for my family and friends. I’ve said it before, but nothing puts things into perspective quite like running 26+ miles does. And I’d be an idiot not to appreciate all of the awesome people and things in my life. So, that’s pretty cool.

After breakfast we drove to the ocean and drank a little more celebratory mead. I soaked my sore legs in the cold pacific and then we just sat on the beach. Such a wonderful day.

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The Magical City of Portland

I’m still getting over jet lag and wondering if this past weekend really happened. It was one of those trips that just felt surreal and strangely perfect. Damn. I’m smiling again just thinking about.

In all honesty I went into the “travel” part of this blind. We planned out where we were going to stay and booked a rental car. The only actual thing on our schedule was the marathon in Eugene. Other than that? Absolutely no plans. We arrived in Portland late on Thursday night, grabbed some beers at the pizza place next to our “hostel” (it turned out to be a pretty decent hotel!) then immediately crashed. The next day I woke up giddy. I love exploring new cities and the idea of being an adult who can just GO places is still stupidly exciting for me. I’ve been pretty damn broke my whole grownup life, but the fact that I can work hard and save up enough money to travel is still amazing to me. My Dad was also awesome and let me use his frequent flier miles for flights (Thanks Dad!!)!! So I was able to do it all relatively frugally!

I think Emma and Silas were just as excited as I was because we all woke up early and ready to seize the day. The great thing about living in the future is having all information ever at your fingertips. So in spite of having no plans we had zero problems finding a zillion things to do. We started by taking a beautiful walk by the river.

And then we got donuts at the infamous Voodoo donuts. Holy shit, guys, they were not screwing around. These donuts were the donuts that dreams are made of. This is my favorite donut of all time. Yes. It is maple bacon.

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We also discovered many fascinating things about Portland. Nobody honks their car horns. Ever. We heard ONE angry honk the entire time we were there. Boston is a SEA of HONKS. Always. There were free showers for the homeless (“because everybody deserves a shower”). Everything was clean. Everybody was friendly. We made SO many friends. Emma had this really charming way of getting strangers to tell her their backgrounds and it’s so wonderful to witness.

We went to the Portland History Museum (made friends with a lovely bowtie clad man working there). We ate Salmon and Chips and had delicious locally brewed beer. OH YEAH. And we stumbled upon a gorgeous theater where David Sedaris was performing that very night.

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Why yes, we thought, we WOULD like to see David Sedaris. So tickets were purchased.

It was around this time that we decided Portland was far too great to leave behind so we asked our hotel if we could stay just one more night (pretty please!!). And they let us! This is part of why I loved traveling with Emma and Silas! They were SO flexible and up for anything!

Once that was set we took a nap. That morning/afternoon of exploring wiped us out.

Well, I tried to nap, but I was way too anxious/excited about the marathon to sleep! So I people watched from our window for awhile and looked through the pictures from our morning. First off, fountains. Lots of fountains.

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Silas and I doing our best (?) Bioshock Infinite impressions.

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Get out of here, California! (old timey map in the museum)

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After resting we went to see David Sedaris. I an SO glad we went. He was incredible. He read stories from his new book, a story he was working on, some poems about dogs, and some journal entries. He also took questions at the end and, man, that guy is the Oscar Wilde of our times. So witty. So sharp. I loved listening to his off the cuff responses.

After that we got one last beer and called it a night.

The next morning we woke up and went to the farmer’s market which was filled with so many delights. Bagels baked in a brick oven before our very eyes then topped with roasted kale covered with parsley pesto (this may be the douchiest thing I’ve ever written). Mead made by a guy around our age who kept his own bees to brew said mead. Maple lattes. Flowers. It was a wonderland of locally grown organic goodies.

Silas with flowers. Definitely a new headshot for him (we bought them for his Aunt and Uncle who were hosting us in Eugene)

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Then we walked to the river to see the Saturday Market which is basically a giant flea/craft market. We saw peope with all manner of pets (dogs, a pig, a parrot). We chatted with strangers. Walking around on a beautiful day with no place to be was exactly what I wanted.

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After an eventful morning we were finally ready to make the drive to Eugene. On our way out of town we stopped at the Portland Rose Gardens for one last look at the city and then we were on our way.

Silas’ Aunt and Uncle were kind enough to host us in Eugene. Turns out that they are the nicest, coolest people ever. They had an unbelievable garden AND chickens!!

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They cooked us a huge, delicious dinner then Uncle Len took us on a tour of Eugene. See? Nicest.

After that I was exhausted from the past two days. So I went to bed when it was still light out (around 7:30). For what must be the first time ever I was too tired to even fret about the race.

I remember thinking that even if the race was a bust tomorrow, that was okay, this had still been one of the best trips of my life.

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Last Week in Boston

It’s been exactly one week since bombs went off at the finish line of the Boston Marathon.

When it happened I was in bed with Joe watching Mad Men. I was, as usual, aghast with Don Draper’s incredible ability to make poor choices. It was my first day off in over a week and I was relishing in the downtime. I’d gone to yoga in the morning. I had checked the news to see how the elite ladies did in the marathon. I was daydreaming about running Boston myself.

And then we both got a text from one of our old roommates who had moved to California “Are you ok?”. I looked at Joe “Did he send this to the wrong people?”. I responded to the text “I think so?!”.

Then we checked the news, and you know the rest, really.

Immediately I went through a checklist in my head. Roommates. Two of them were at work no where near the explosion. One I wasn’t sure about. Contacted him. He was fine. Other close friends I was able to place immediately. Within 10 minutes I was certain that everybody I knew was OK. My roommate came home crying and I wanted to tell her “We’re okay! Everybody we love is okay!” for some reason it didn’t register in my brain how fucked up all of it was. My only goal was to make sure all of my friends were safe. And they were. That was all that mattered to me on Monday.

But then the rest of the week happened and the big picture stuff started to settle in. I became obsessed with the news coverage. Obssessed with knowing everything I could. I wanted to help. This was OUR city, goddamnit! This was OUR running community. Who the fuck does this?! I donated money. I offered runners a place to stay. I tried to make people smile on my tour. But none of it was enough. I was just so sad and heartbroken that it had happened.

At the same time though, I was in awe of how our city came together as a community. How runners came together as a community. And I fell more deeply in love with my city my sport my home my friends my family. It’s sad that sometimes it takes something horrible happening to remind us to love. But at least we let goodness come out of it. If we didn’t return to good after times of tragedy then tragedy would be unbearable.

Thursday night I went to see a play. A really funny, escapist, wonderful little play. At home while I was drifting off to sleep I got a text from a friend who was rehearsing a play at MIT. He said “there was a shooting here”.

Yeah, sleeping wasn’t going to happen Thursday night. Joe went to pick up one of my best friends from the bus station (she just happened to be visiting this weekend! Timing, huh!).

Then I was up until 3 listening to police scanners with Joe as they chased the suspects to Watertown. Finally I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I fell asleep and my last thoughts were “This has to be over in the morning”.

It wasn’t. Obviously. Friday. The infamous lockdown day. Woke up to messages of “stay inside, don’t come to work”.

News all day.

Booze all day.

Yoga all day.

Ha. It was the most surreal combination of anxiety and celebration I’ve ever been a part of. We had 9 people in our apartment (one a stranger who needed a place to stay). 4 dogs. A cat. I was so grateful to be surrounded by my friends. And animals.

We were punchy. All of Boston was punchy. Waiting. For anything to happen. For it all to be over. This insane, chaotic, troubling week.

And then it was.

Honestly. I didn’t even feel better right away. It didn’t seem real. If I’ve learned anything about myself this week it’s that things take time for me to grasp emotionally. Ha.

But today is Monday. A new week. It’s a beautiful, crisp day on the Boston Common and I have a tour to give. At the end of this week I’ll be in Eugene, OR running a marathon and thinking about what it means to be a Bostonian and a Runner. Thinking of the sign at the London Marathon that said “Run if you can, walk if you must, but finish for Boston”.

Thinking that I’ve never affiliated myself with a geographical location before. That Boston is the first place I chose to live. Chose to STAY.

Next year I am running the Boston Marathon. Even if I don’t qualify. I’ll do whatever it takes. This is my home.

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Monkey Brain.

The past few weeks have been a little funky. I had a minor injury a few weeks ago. My left foot was tweaky and running made it worse. So I took 5 days (yikes) off from running. I iced it. Compressed it. And it went away, thank goodness. BUT this was right before my half marathon. I managed to get in a 20 miler and some 400s in before the half, but it was rough!

The half wound up being kind of a disaster. I came in at 1:47:45. My heart just wasn’t in it. “Race” Chelsea didn’t show up and I just slogged through it miserably. It was a combination of things. Cramps (of the lovely menstrual variety). Stupidly big hills for the first 5 miles. Low self esteem from taking so much time off of running Yada yada. Usually I have so much fun racing! But like I said: mentally I wasn’t into it. Instead of obsessing over a poor race day I’ve tried to take it as a learning experience. Not every race is a PR! And some days it’s just hard! No use beating myself up over it. Nobody cares if I PR. This is just for me after all!

I let the rough race motivate me to train HARD this week, but also to have fun with it. And it worked! I had a really, really solid week of training which has pulled me out of my funk and gotten me excited about Eugene again! I did 4×2 mile repeats on Thursday with paces of 6:57, 6:52, 6:56, 6:54. That’s the longest I’ve ever held a sub 7 pace! Sure, I wanted to puke at times, but I felt amazing afterwards! And yesterday I ran for 3 hrs 15 mins (22.8 miles). Those two solid workouts have gotten me back into a motivated, excited place which is exactly where I want to be 4 weeks out from Eugene!

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The Highs & Lows of Marathon Training!

This WEEK. This week.

Highs! Lows! All of it!

Without getting into too much detail my  drama teaching was pretty depressing this week. It wasn’t even stressful. Just sad to hear some of the things the kids go through. Perspective.

But let’s focus on running because that, too, has been all over the place. The good news is that I ran 47.5 miles this week! Which is the highest weekly mileage I’ve ever had! I know it probably doesn’t seem like much to intense marathoners, but for me that’s a big deal. Cool stuff.

However, I also had one of the worst runs of my life this week. AWESOME. On Wednesday I was supposed to run 19 miles. You know what else happened on Wednesday? Cold, horrible, relentless rain. For some reason this didn’t deter me at first. “HA!” I thought “I laugh at you, rain! You can’t stop me! I’ve run in subzero temps! I’ve run in snowstorms!”. WHAT A FOOL I WAS.

Two minutes into my run and I was drenched. I ignored it and I headed towards my normal route by the water. Um. The wind ALMOST carried me into the sea never to be heard from again.  I re-evaluated. Running by the water during an intense storm: probably not smart. So I decided to run into the city in hopes that the tall buildings would protect me from the wind and mayyybbeee shield me from the rain? A little bit?

Yeah. It wasn’t much better. I slogged through 8 miles of pure misery. Something shifted after mile 8, though, I thought “Hey, this is horrible, but I’ve already run 8 miles in this stupid weather what’s 11 more?”. I made it to Mile 12 and noticed there was something in my shoe. I pulled over under an awning to check it out. This act was almost impossible because I was shivering violently which made taking off my soaked gloves an exercise in insanity. I finally managed to figure it out, but once I was ready to go again I realized my teeth were chattering and my shivering had only gotten worse.

I saw a cab.

I sighed and waved it down.

It just wasn’t worth finishing. It wasn’t worth getting sick. Or injuring myself. Or just hating every moment of it. At first I was SO DRAMATIC ABOUT IT. OH NO. I HAVE NEVER QUIT A RUN BEFORE! WOE IS ME! Thankfully Coach K was amazing about it and put things into perspective for me (there’s that word again). Bad runs happen. I was kind of crazy for thinking I could tough out 19 miles in that insane weather. The funniest part? I saw NO OTHER RUNNERS out. That never happens! Even in the worst weather I usually see another runner!

At least I tried, and I still got 12.5 miles in. So there’s that!

The day after I ran an easy four miles, and on Friday I had my first EVER mile repeat workout at the track! I’ve done 400s and 800s before, but never mile repeats. So I was kind of terrified, and the fact that I had such a demoralizing run on Wednesday didn’t help me mentally.

I was supposed to run seven minute miles down to 6:55 and my warm up miles felt kind of stiff. Not a good sign.

Once I arrived at the track, though, I put it all out of my head and just ran.

First mile? 6:48. Oops. Too fast, but it felt good! My remaining repeats: 6:44, 6:30, 6:27. And it felt great! I think I could have done another one without too much trouble! I have no idea where that came from, but I REALLY needed a strong workout to get back into my groove.

And today was my “re-scheduled” long run after the disaster of Wednesday. I was supposed to run 17-19 miles (I did 17). Honestly? This was a really “meh” run. I never really got into it. It wasn’t torture or anything, but usually my long runs feel a lot better. I think it just felt like an “unfinished” run because it was to make up for a failed run. Does that make sense? After I was done I felt much better and grateful that I did it, but still. Odd. I’m ready to leave this training week behind and start fresh tomorrow. I think this week was important for me mentally. To learn that things don’t always go accord to plan. Rough runs happen. Stick with it. Yeah?

Even though this training week was all over the place it’s still making me realize how much I love having workouts to look forward to. I like tackling a tough workout! I love kicking it’s butt when I do! I’m going to be honest, I’m really terrified of my goals for Eugene, but I’m putting the work in. And that’s all I can do!

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Yoga Teacher Training and Eugene Training and Life!

This week has been magical and surreal and lovely and just, wow.

There was a bit of a downer at the beginning of this week (my car almost got repossessed! HA!), but it was all big misunderstanding that we were able to handle. One emotional breakdown and hundreds of dollars later everything was fixed and I learned several adult lessons all at once! It was almost much, much worse so I’m grateful as hell it all worked out.

All I’ve done this week is yoga, run, eat, sleep, and somehow manage to fit in some nice little catch up time with friends. What can I say? I’m insane.

my sweet setup! journal, books, training manual, mat!

my sweet setup! journal, books, training manual, mat!

Let’s start with running. Running I can wrap my mind around in a slightly more concise manner. Yoga is a beast. A big, wonderful, beast I struggle to describe because we’ve done so much in such little time.

First big news with running: I got a coach! Which I did pretty impulsively. This is how I function sometimes. Impulse. I think “Well, that would be really nice…” and all of a sudden I’m doing it. We just started this week and she (Katie aka msfitrunner) came up with a fantastic Eugene training plan for me. It’s only Day 5 of the plan, but I am digging it big time. I do not want to cop out on any workouts because, by golly, Coach made a plan and I’m sticking to it! It’s really helped having a plan this week because it would have been really easy to talk myself out of runs otherwise. I would have said “Well, I’m doing 3 hours of yoga each day, and working and doing a million other things…and it’s cold…and and and and” excuses that can go on forever. And guess what? Even though I’ve been horrible busy and doing yoga all day everyday I have been able to fit my runs in, and I have loved them. So I know I did the right thing. In fact I’m pretty sure all this yoga is improving my running. Making me stronger (both mentally and physically) and helping me recover faster.

I say this because I’ve upped my mileage big time (for me) this week. Last marathon my biggest mileage week was 36? 37 miles? Something like that. I have already run 34 miles this week and by Sunday I will have run 45. And I feel great. I can attribute that partly to I’ve built up a stronger base this time, but man, I think the yoga and strength training I’ve been doing has helped!

Here’s how this week has looked so far:

Monday: 6×800

3:14, 3:16, 3:17, 3:23, 3:23, 3:23

I was supposed to do 3:15, but that was a little too hard for me. To be fair to myself the sidewalks weren’t very clear and I was doing some leaping through snow. And it was pretty windy. So I’m not going to beat myself up about it. It still feel good to get a nice strong speed workout in.

Tuesday: Fun easy 5k run with my friend for her birthday!!! Added on a little to make it 4 miles. More on this later! I was so proud of her for doing it!

Wednesday: 4 easy miles

Thursday: 16 Miles (9@”Marathon Goal Pace”)

7:48, 7:33, 7:46, 7:37, 7:37, 7:34, 7:30, 7:21, 7:38

2:11:13 Total

My goal pace was supposed to be 8:00 down to 7:55. Oops! Here’s the thing. I was dreading this run. Dreading it! The only time I could fit it in was after a full day (8 – 5:30) of teacher training and I kept thinking to myself “How am I going to do this? Will my legs even work?!”. Thankfully I was pretty jazzed after class that day. I decided not to think about it. I just put on my running clothes and went outside.

And I don’t know what happened! I decided to just run a little 2 mile out and back near my house so I wouldn’t have to worry about crossing streets or winding up in a rough neighborhood in the dark. Breaking it down like that made it very doable for me. I tried to slow down to 8:00, but things just kind of clicked. I got into a groove and didn’t want to slow down. It didn’t feel like I was pushing too hard. It felt just right. So I rolled with it. I also feel like I bounced back quickly from this run! My recovery run today was no big deal at all. No struggles. So that’s a great feeling.

Friday (today): Easy 3 miles. Yum.

Tomorrow I have another easy 3 and Sunday I have 8 miles with a tempo run tossed in. I love this training plan! I’m looking forward to all my workout days! I feel like it’s going to make me a much stronger runner. I’ve also just been really enjoying my runs this week. They’ve given me time to process all of the information we’re getting in teacher training.

Which leads me to teacher training.

How do I even start?

Simply, I think. We practice every morning for around two hours. Our teachers are incredible human beings. We meditate. We chant. I thought I would hate meditation and chanting. I thought I would think “enough of this BS! Let’s get to the physical, practical stuff!”. Joke’s on me. I loved it.

I think it’s because of the way it was taught. I always thought of chanting as devotion to a higher power or a religious thing (which it is for a lot of people) and that’s not really my jam. I’m not a religious person and things that are focused around religion turn me off. I have no problem with people who believe in God or a higher power, but it’s not something I can get behind for myself. I don’t like the idea of doing things because some sort of God said so or explaining things by saying “God did it”. Again, that’s just me! Our instructor turned it around for us. For example instead of enlightenment being closer to god enlightenment is getting closer to being as normal as you can be. By normal, he means ridding yourself of all the crap. Removing stress causing thoughts. That kind of thing. That’s something I can get behind!

When something bad happens instead of justifying it through “god’s divine plan” you just acknowledge that some things are beyond your control. I like that. Makes sense for me.

That was another thing I was worried about with the teacher training. That it would be too “hippie-ish” (I’m such a jerk) and mystical. You know? But, nope! Right off the bat our teacher said something along the lines of “Leave mysticism out of it. Reality is great on it’s own! Yoga works as a physical and emotional practice. You don’t need to act like it’s magic”. Boom.

Although I will say this week has felt pretty darn magical. Everything we’ve done has left me elated and more in tune with my body and my surroundings. It’s given me the tools to deal with my relationships and problems better. I feel like I’m better at listening! I’m calmer! What the heck is happening to me?! I guess hours upon hours of yoga and chanting and meditation will do that to you…

We’ve also been learning all of the practical stuff. Alignment in certain poses. Anatomy. Sequencing a class. The ethics of yoga. The business side of things. How to apply the emotional/philosophical stuff to our teaching (One of the yamas of yoga and basically “not to waste” so don’t waste your students time!).

And I haven’t even  mentioned the breath work! We did a form of breath work called Holotropic Breathwork and it was an unbelievable experience. I got completely lost in it and wound up feeling elevated in a way I’ve never felt before. Basically, you lie on your back and breathe to the beat of trance music. It sounds wacky, but the time flew by. I had no idea, but we did it for an HOUR AND FIFTEEN MINUTES! I didn’t want it to stop because it was such an amazing sensation. Evidently it brings up a lot of things for some people emotionally, but for me I just felt so alive and connected to everything. I saw all sorts of incredible images and forgot where I was frequently. It’s kind of what I’d imagine being on ecstasy is like, ha! Or maybe that was just the trance music…either way I loved it.

We’ve also been teaching every single day. I was really nervous about teaching. I thought that maybe I wouldn’t like it very much or be very good at it, but it turns out that I love doing it. I can’t wait to learn more and to get better at it! I love coming up with how to cue certain poses and how to convey certain moods in the class.

Today we did a restorative practice (thank goodness!) and we got to teach each other blindfolded and then without sound. Both very neat, eye opening experiences.

Oh goodness, I’m getting sleepy. I have a million other thoughts on the training, but I am confidant that this is one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long time.

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