This training update is all about metal and breath. Finding metal. Learning to breathe. I logged 15 miles (4 runs) and practiced yoga 4 times last week.
I has been frigid. It has been snowing. It has been icy. It has been windy. I have geared up and gone out there anyway. In 3 months, I will be running 13 miles up and around hills. That knowledge gets me out the door. It has been beautiful to experience the silence of falling snow, to see my breath being captured in icy puffs of determination, and to pay attention to the winter sunset reflecting off of the cityscape. There is a special light and feel to this time of year. Being outdoors right now is a blessing.
Two of my outdoor runs have been with a group from my yoga studio. We run for 45 minutes and then do yoga for 30 minutes on Sunday mornings. The last two Sundays I have participated in the group. I have finished last by several minutes each run. (They don’t slow down, and I go as fast as I can.) I have been the last up the stairs at the yoga studio, last to get my mat out, and last to find shavasana. The other members of the group are gracious and kind as we get situated for our yoga practice. It has worked thus far.
During the first run, the leader slowed down to run by me at one point. I apologized that I was so slow. She said there was no need to apologize. She then shared the mantra she uses when she runs. “I am healthy. I am strong.” She said some days the mantra gets her through a hard run. (It was nice to hear other people, even people in great shape, struggle when they run.) She then encouraged me to develop my own mantra that affirmed something other than the fact that I was slow. I immediately thought, “I am fast. My legs are light.” (I had also complained about my legs feeling heavy during the run.) I repeated that mantra in my mind throughout the run. It really helped me finish the run. Moments like that are the beauty of running in a group, rather than being alone.
I conjunction with running and yoga, I have also been meditating daily as part of my training. I sit in silence on my living room floor for five minutes immediately after I wake. I set my Chakra Time ap for five minutes and sit with my legs crossed and arms folded. The chime sounds and I begin to softly chant “Om Hreem” This mantra was giving to me by my yoga teacher earlier this year. Roughly understood, it is a prayer for clarity and knowledge. I have been able to find five minutes every morning for the last five weeks to meditate. I committed to meditating for five minutes daily, thinking that was an easy place to start. Now, I would not call it easy. My mind is still noisy, without question. I can’t really say that I find it any easier to breathe and relax during that time. I am not even sure how the meditation fits in with running, though I know that it does. I suspect feeling truly comfortable meditating will take years, or perhaps even a lifetime. Maybe someday I will be able to grasp sitting in stillness for longer than five minutes?
Though I am just starting, I know a few things right now about meditation. I know taking that time in the morning to focus on my breath and really listen to what is happening around me is profoundly meaningful. I have been surprised at thoughts and revelations that have surfaced during those brief moments. Starting small, just 5 minutes, has allowed me to not make excuses as to why I can’t simply sit down. That has already been a lesson for me.
The training journey continues.