I run to escape my thoughts, I run to analyze and solve problems, I run because I still can, I run because at the end of the day…I have this happiness.
Running for me is a moving meditation.
It never used to be like this, I also never ever would call myself a “runner”. Usually running is extremely hard for me…well it was. I used to buy the wrong shoes; usually Nike and I would get horrible knee pain. I never used to stretch, I never properly ate and during the run I felt like I was torturing myself.
This year has been much different. I started running again when I was going through a breakup. The freedom of running felt like I was running from that breakup and running away from the pain. Then I dealt with my alcoholism battle. I dropped one addiction and ran away from the fear of being someone that had to start from scratch. I saw my life in different eyes, sober eyes and knew that life had to change from here on out. My life has always been one of extremes..If I have one drink, I wanted 10. If I realized I drank too much, I decided sobriety it is! If I loved someone, I wanted them in my life everyday…and if the opposite was the case, I wanted nothing to do with them. I either eat everything or I want to be vegan. I either hate running…or I’m training for a fricken Ultra. As I said before…I’m one of extremes.
Anyway back to what I was saying… running now feels like moving meditation for me and since I’ve been extremely dedicated to yoga in the past year or two, my runs became different.
I learned the art of breathing.
Now when I run, no matter how fast or slow I go, I maintain the same Ujjayi breath. Many of you yogi’s know what this means…its kind of an audible snoring noise that you make breathing in and out only through the nose. I use it in my yoga practice to connect postures in vinyasa style yoga and in restorative yoga it’s helpful in sending breath to the painful spots in the body. It’s quite fantastic, and I feel that it’s what keeps me present on my runs. I just looked up other benefits from a mindbodygreen article on the benefits of Ujjayi breathing:
1. Improves concentration in the physical practice. Becoming absorbed in Ujjayi allows the practitioner to remain in poses for longer periods of time.
2. Instills endurance that enhances a flowing practice by lending a meditative quality that maintains the rhythm of the class.
3. It diminishes distractions and allows the practitioner to remain self aware and grounded in the practice.
4. Ujjayi breath regulates heating of the body. The friction of the air passing through the lungs and throat generates internal body heat. It is similar to a massage for the internal organs; as the core becomes warm from the inside, the body becomes prepared for the asana practice. This heat makes stretching safer while the inner organs can be cleansed of any toxins that have accumulated.
5. A focused Ujjayi breath can release tension and tight areas of the body.
Those 5 benefits of Ujjayi breathing came from: http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-5823/8-Reasons-Why-We-Use-Ujjayi-Breath-in-Yoga.html
Now read that list, and imagine the benefits of applying that which is usually for yoga, to running.
Anyway….here I am now with my first half marathon under my belt. In the past I thought that this seemed crazy and too long, and now that I’ve done it, I know that I probably could have kept running. The course itself was really easy for me and I was pretty relaxed and pain free the whole time despite all the hills. I knew it was a really hilly course so most my training was only done on hilly terrain.
Being with the large amount of people, 6000 around there, and all of us having different reasons to be there, different body types, different levels of strength and endurance, all with one common love, the love for running. The most amazing part of this half was being able to run the whole course with my best friend Ashley. Ashley is the one person in my life who can honestly be up for anything, any challenge and be by my side facing everything head on. We plan on doing the Rock and Roll Marathon this summer. It was also amazing seeing her parents and mine as well as my little brother at the finish line! It made me so, incredibly happy…it brought me back to my track days in middle school when they would cheer me on at every meet and I’d be the person in last place eevery single time and they would smile like I was in first. I never gave up and they never stopped being an amazing support system.
Running is beautiful and allows you to almost escape reality, and in the end all you want is more. Since the race I have had to try hard not to train too quickly and it’s difficult, because I’m hooked! I already want a taste of a marathon and hopefully within the next couple years, an Ultra. Running an Ultrathon is something I REALLY, REALLY want. Ever since reading “Eat and Run” by Scott Jurek and “Finding Ultra” by Rich Roll, I idolize them and want an Ultra in my future…if my little legs can handle it.
Anyway short little post:) Hope everyone had a lovely thanksgiving.