I am a yogi first, but I also enjoy skiing, biking, rock climbing, and swimming. Supplementing yoga with other forms of exercise keeps my body balanced. Cardio endurance training strengthens my heart. Recreating outside keeps me connected to nature and I believe this is good for my soul. Last year I discovered an activity which combines all these benefits: trail running.
In July 2013, I received a phone call from my friend and fellow yogi, Jim Knight. He told me he was going to be teaching yoga at a Ragnar Trail Relay and asked if I could help.
Ragnar is a relay where athletes run on mountain trails throughout the night until each runner has traversed about 15 miles. Runners on Ultra teams cover 30 miles each. Jim's "Yoga Zone" would offer classes for the runners and he needed another instructor to teach while he was running. It sounded fun to me so I happily agreed.
The next day Jim called again and asked, "Hey I'm on an Ultra team and we need another runner. Do you wanna run the race?"
Last Friday night, at about 11:30 pm, I was running up a dark, dusty trail. It was my 23rd mile. Sweat drenched my back. Every time the wind picked up, grit blew into my eyes and mouth. I was tired, but I knew that as soon as I reached the summit it would be easy downhill running for the last 2 miles of this leg. My headlamp was so dim I was having a hard time seeing the trail and I asked myself, "Why did I let Jim talk me into this again?" But then I quickly remembered, last year he asked me to run, this year I volunteered.
I reached the summit and turned off my headlamp to survey the view. A sea of brilliant stars shone overhead. I had been so focused on looking down at the trail I hadn't even noticed how intensely they glowed. Below me, the red and white rock canyons of Zion now looked grey in the shadows of night. I could see the orange light from the fires at base camp where my teammates slept, waiting for my return. I felt at peace yet oddly powerful. Two miles left and all downhill. I hoped Jim was waking up and getting ready. It would soon be his turn to run.
Running the Ragnar Trail Relay has been a great adventure for me. When Jim invited me, I knew I would enjoy teaching the yoga classes. What I wasn't prepared for was how much I would come to enjoy the running. There are much faster, stronger runners than me, but that doesn't diminish my level of enjoyment. I finish the race and I love it!
What do you love doing? If you're not sure, then start somewhere. Take a walk, ride your bike, play basketball with your kids, or join me on the yoga mat. Contact me to discuss your exercise goals and we'll work together to get you moving.