While I have trained for, ran in, and even finished a marathon, I realized today that my training was very specific. Now this may seem like an obvious thing — you train for what you are trying to get better at. But when you do something that’s related to what you have trained for, you really see (and feel!) how different terrain has its own challenges.
Today was the start of trail running, and more yoga. Trail running is amazing here. You get to run through amazing West Coast forests and mountains with amazing views. You also get to run uphill and gain a lot of elevation, quickly. On today’s run we gained almost 600m of elevation in just under 4km (2,000 ft in 2.5 miles). That’s a lot of running up.
You don’t really notice this as you are running. You do notice when you stop at a look-out and later see how much different the view is from another vantage point. You are so much higher that you see so much more. When you are running, you’re mostly focused on not tripping and where the hill might possibly end. (There are always false summits where you turn a corner and it’s just more hill). What I noticed, at the top of most of the hills, is how hard I was breathing (still battling a bit of a cold) but also how much my legs were screaming. At one point my quads hurt more, for a moment, than any hill workout we’ve done in recent memory.
You don’t notice how many steps it takes you to go so high, or so far. When we are only focused on the results or a destination, we forget all the little steps that get us to where we are. I don’t mean to say we need to focus on every little step, but sometimes we can reflect that there are so many steps. So many times we re-commit to ourselves and so many times we continue to take those little steps. So many times we give up something else to keep going. So many times we choose to keep going and push ourselves a little bit more. And we take those steps, and then we can see farther than we have before.
The result of going up to magnificent views also means going down. Coming down always seems like a breeze; it’s faster and less energy. But it’s your legs that keep you in control and keep your speed manageable and it’s using those same legs that just ran up so far. There are times where I feel like I’m running so slowly uphill I could walk faster. Sometimes this is even true. There are also times when I feel like I could not run another step, but give me a few minutes to catch my breath and suddenly I can run faster than before. This is a cruel and tricky mind game for me. I am spent and tired, but my recovery is getting faster and I can exert myself more. But my consistency (endurance) for going up a hill is not quite there yet.
So I ran with view points, surrounded by nature, and really using my quads to make it a great first trail run. There was no rain and even though it poured and poured yesterday, the trails had enough cover on them that they really weren’t even muddy yet.
I got home, showered, and did my quick Sunday turn-around to head out to yoga.
I felt a little frustrated after I got home from the trail run and before I got to yoga. Just one of those days where you compare yourself to others, or don’t like yourself, or don’t like the way someone else is driving on the road. In general, petty frustration. But I took it to heart and was feeling like I was wearing myself out.
I got to yoga and tried to feel serene. It does take me a while, but it does happen. With all that focused breathing somethings gotta give, and usually it’s your ego that has to learn to step aside.
I’m someone who is pretty physically flexible and I like to feel like I am physically strong. If you ask me to do push-ups, I’m not going to get on my knees and do them. Yoga is not about being strong; or, not in the way that I tend to think. I feel more like a bull crashing around with my thoughts and unbalanced body and tight muscles than a Yogini. Their strength comes from within, and they can out-strength me because they know HOW to use their body to do it.
Today we worked on controlling our diaphragm to support our torso and body as we did our poses. Trying to become familiar with my floating ribs and how my diaphragm moves up and my breath moves down made my head spin. Never mind that after we had our breath moving down into our feet we would stand on one leg and, not moving our torso, transition into a warrior pose. I could definitely sense the difference between having your body aligned and ready for the pose and allowing it to be graceful (and correct) in contrast to locking up your back, moving into position, and then trying to breath and hold the pose. I realize it’s only been my second class, but I’m still not sure if my mind or my body processes more during the class.
I appreciate it, as it’s teaching me patience. I am short on patience.
And now, I am also really tired and everything hurts. I think my body has not been over-exerted, but exerted in ways it is not routinely used to, and this is more tiring and taxing. Funny how we can do something so well, but try something a little different and we need to learn and re-learn all over again. I think we call this growth.
* How do you access your inner strength? (yogic or otherwise)
* Do you ever feel like you are in miserable shape when you try to do something out of your normal routine?
* Do you ever feel petty frustrations but just can’t seem to shake the feeling?