Thursday, December 19, 2013

2013: Run. Yoga. Love.

Do you ever find yourself looking back at the end of a year and asking yourself, "What was 20___ the year of?" 

I'm not much on New Year's resolutions, so I can't say I started this year off with goals in mind. Life happens and plans evolve, and with it (I'm happy to say) came two proud accomplishments of 2013. 

I started 2013 knowing that I would keep my marathon streak alive and run the Chicago Marathon for the sixth year in a row.  But due to  a combination of luck, chance and some healthy peer pressure from Jeff, I found myself early in 2013 registered for two marathons two weeks apart. 

It was exciting and also scary to have a new twist on summer marathon training. I found myself from time to time getting wrapped up in the physical questions of how to properly prepare myself for such a feat. Truthfully, what I should have tried to prepare myself for was the level of raw emotion I'd feel throughout my nearly five hour journey at the Marine Corps Marathon. Even to this day, I fight to explain how moving that experience was. I thought very little during that experience about my physical state. Instead, I thought an awful lot about the cause. The faces. The very young faces of our military. The volunteerism for the cause. And in a short period of time, my thoughts became very personal as I thought of my brother. 

By early afternoon of October 27th, my 34th birthday, I'd completed my second marathon in two weeks. As the Marine Corps Marathon organizers would say, mission accomplished.

Sara and I started the year continuing our yoga studio journey throughout the city. That is, until February when I was introduced to The Lab. Sara warned me that The Lab was a yoga experience like no other. Shortly after entering the studio for our first class, I saw exactly what she meant. This place was going to push and challenge me to do things I would never think were possible this year - arm balances, inversions, twists and back bends. As each month has passed, I've experienced small victories in poses which have lead me from my start at level [insert a very low number] to level [insert a higher number to show progress]. For that, I have to thank the instructors and owner of The Lab, as well as Sara for the introduction.

My approach to yoga used to be that it was an important supplement to running, and therefore, I had to do it. Over the last two months, I've noticed that thinking has changed. Yoga is now it's own important thing. Whereas I used to plan my schedule around running, I now find myself making time for yoga - classes after work or even practicing poses in my living room.

So, 2013, you've been a pretty good year. Thanks.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Day Running Stopped

Over the last six weeks, I've been struggling to explain to myself what happened to the runner in me. I crossed the Marine Corps Marathon finish line and essentially hung up my running shoes.  I've never done that before. 

Around Thanksgiving, I wrote a post explaining the beginning of this experience. How strange it is not to run. Or have a desire to. For the first time in many years, have runners pass me by and I've not been jealous. 

Since that post, I've run zero times.

Does this mean my running career is over? I keep thinking back to the scene in Forrest Gump where he suddenly stops running. 

Maybe this is me (minus the facial hair). 

But today, like any, is a new day. For the first time in a number of days, it's a balmy 29 degrees and the sun is out. To top it off, I'm off work today. 

Maybe today's the day to say hello to running again. I'm going to charge up my Garmin and iPod, then put on my cold weather gear. I'll head down the route I've taken countless times over the last seven years and I'll see what happens. It might be a little bit awkward like a first date, but hopefully running understands that sometimes we need to give it a break.