Trail running

Sometimes I think I’m not a real runner. Other days, I’m convinced I can run circles around anyone. Well, around turtles or squirrels or really slow rabbits. Today was an I-am-awesome-and-I-will-kick-ass-and-no-one-can-stop-me day. Never mind that my legs are still feeling the effects of Sunday’s 108 sun salutations or that my ankle has been feeling funny.

I’ve been trying to do a 30 x 30 challenge, where I spend 30 minutes a day in nature for 30 days. So far, not so good. It’s been raining a lot and I’m kind of a wimp when it comes to running in the pouring rain. I’m not so girly or fluffy that I can’t handle a little drizzle, but when it’s coming down in sheets, I mean really, what’s the fun in that?

Today was sunny, so I decided not to waste it. Well, to be honest, I almost did. I came home and crashed on the couch after work. I was watching a show about people trying to lose weight and I thought “Why are you watching people excercise instead of doing it yourself?”

I headed out to Pink Lake to run along the path that circles the lake. There are a lot of stairs.

Stairs going up.

Stairs going down.

I decided to run the trails and walk the stairs. When I came to the first set of stairs, I thought “I’m sure I can run up.” So I did. Then I walked along the path clutching at trees and branches to keep from falling over as I tried to breathe for about 10 minutes. The sad (crazy?) thing is, as soon as I could breathe, I did it again. I proceeded to make my way around the lake this way. I think I scared two old ladies. Better me than a bear.

Trying to breathe.

It was beautiful out there, even though about a third of the way through, the mosquitoes found me. The sun was still out, but it wasn’t too hot. Perfect for a trail run/stair climb/stagger around the lake.

I even saw a turtle. His name was Walter. He was just floating in the water with his head sticking out. I asked him to turn around for a better picture, but he was camera shy. This is the best I got. I know, not great. Blame Walter, not me.

And now, as I write this, it’s starting to pour outside. Makes me happy I went out while the sun was shining!

Super Saturday Flow

I went to an amazing flow class this morning. Well, it was actually at 12, but since it’s Saturday, that’s considered morning. It was with Jen at Pure. This is good because Jen is one of my favourite teachers and Pure is one of my favourite places to be!

I was amazed at how my energy level was so much higher than when I go to a class after work. This turned out to be a great thing because Jen had all kinds of things for me to try. Well, for the whole class, but it felt like it was all for me.

We did crow pose. Awesome, because I can do this one now!

Then we did flying crow pose. I ended up looking an actual crow who has flown into a window, as I was always falling to the side. To keep things interesting, I alternated between falling to the right and falling to the left.

Then Jen said we would be doing some forearm balancing postures. She came up to me and said “I’m doing this for you!” It’s a really great feeling when your yoga teacher becomes your friend and she does whatever she can to help you achieve your ultimate yogic goal. In my case, it’s an inversion.

I tried to bring as much weight as I could into my arms and kicked up. Jen held my legs up. I actually don’t think they went all the way up, but it was fun. Then, when we did it again, I think I got overexcited and kind of gave a little hop, which made my right arm move off the mat. There was no saving this one and I ended up in a sweaty pile on my mat.

I could have kept going, but there were other people in the class who might not have been quite as interested by my attempt at a forearm stand, although I’m sure it was very entertaining to watch.

I also did bird of paradise, which I really enjoy, even if it’s another pose that gets me tangled up. I did wheel again too. That was a lot of fun, because I did my first wheel in Jen’s class. Now, I’m like a wheel expert. Ok, I’m not, but I can do it most of the time.

After class, I saw this on another yoga teacher’s facebook wall, and I felt like it was written for me!

I wanted a picture of Jen and I to post here, but I forgot my camera. We took some with my phone, lovely yoga hair and all, but I can’t figure out how to get them out of my phone. True story.

When I came home, all I wanted was a hot shower, but I knew that if I didn’t spend my 30 minutes outside right away, then I probably wouldn’t do it at all. I was already wet and sweaty, so I figured running in the rain wouldn’t be that bad. There’s a park close to my place, but it only takes about 5 minutes to run through it, as there are only 2 paths. Actually, it’s more like 1 and a half. One of them leads nowhere. I didn’t really want to run in circles, so I didn’t stay in the park, but I looped back at the end of my run to go through it one more time and I walked, to make it last longer.

I could smell the trees and the leaves like you can only when it’s raining. I saw some very pretty flowers I considered picking. I’ve done it before, even though I’m not sure it’s allowed. I know, I’m such a rebel. Outlawed flower picking.

Have a great weekend!

Happy Rainy Day

When was the last time you enjoyed rain? I mean, really enjoyed it? From outside, not from inside a nice, dry, house looking out? It had been a while for me. Then today, I got caught in a storm with 19 kids. How can you not enjoy that?

We went out for a field trip to paint mugs and bowls for father’s day. The weather was calling for an afternoon storm, but it was bright and sunny when we headed out, so I just assumed it would be ok.

I was wrong.

While we were painting, it started pouring. And this was no sissy rain either. Big raindrops that bounced when they hit the ground. Louder than the kids.

I love storms. When I was a kid, my mom used to tell us storms were like movies and we would open to door to watch the show. I try to do this with my students, because so many of them are afraid of thunder and lightning, and I want them to be excited instead. I think it’s working. Whenever the weather reports call for a storm, the kids tell me as soon as they get to school, just to see my reaction. Last year, we had a really big storm one day and we all turned our chairs towards the window and watched “the show”. Some of the kids even mentionned it today. (I have my students for three years, so they have lots of time to get used to my quirks!)

So back to today’s storm. It rained really hard for about 15 minutes, with some thunder and lightning, then the sun came out, so I told the kids we were leaving right away. The sun was pretty much just an illusion, because as soon as we started walking, everything turned grey again. When we heard thunder, the kids actually clapped and cheered! Thankfully, there was no lightning.

It was only a 10 minute walk back to school, but about halfway there, it started to rain again. Kids really know how to enjoy everything. They were looking up, jumping in puddles and squeeling. How often, as adults, do we walk in the rain without thinking What’s this doing to my hair? These are new shoes! I’m getting all wet and dirty! I did have to tell the kids to hurry up, however, because as much fun as it was, we had to get back to school.

This is what they looked like. Me too, actually.

When I got home from work, I fell asleep on the couch. I hardly ever have naps, and when I woke up, I remembered why. I was cranky and I just moped around. It’s not good for me to mess with my sleeping schedule. After a while, I couldn’t stand myself anymore and I decided to go for a run. I kind of wished it would rain again so I could get my happy feeling back. About halfway through my run, I realized I felt better and didn’t need the rain. Obviously, that’s when it started to rain! It was only a sprinkle, but it was like the universe was telling me “I hear you!”

My run inspired my picture of the day. The prompt was “a number” so I went with number 2 on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days. (yes, I know the numbers 101 and 1001 are messed up.) I’m not sure I’ll do it this week, but it will definitely be soon!

If you want to check out all the pictures from my challenge, click here.

Don’t forget to embrace the rain!

Walk, don’t run!

I have a nasty cold. So bad, that I just spent all weekend complaining. It was a really nice day out on Saturday, but I spent most of it on the couch. At one point, I opened the door, stepped out onto the porch to confirm that, yes, in fact, it was a beautiful day. Then I went back to bed. Yesterday was a little better and I spent the afternoon with family, sitting on my grandma’s porch.

Today, I decided I was sick of being sick. It was another amazing day and I could not spend one more minute inside. Well, after work, anyways. I stopped at the park on my way home, because the word for my photo a day challenge was grass. Since I live in an appartment, I don’t have any grass. I sat around, took some pictures and enjoyed the sun. This is my picture of the day.

Then I decided that what I really wanted wasn’t just to sit outside, but to run. I went home and started getting ready. That’s when the inner dialogue started.

Sick me: – You know, you’re still sick.

Sick of being sick me: – Whatever, I need to move!

– I’m just saying, walk, don’t run.

– We’ll see. I really want to run.

I know, but you keep having coughing fits.

– I can stop running to cough, it’s all good.

– Ok, well, don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Obviously, 5 minutes in, I started to run. I felt amazing, free, like I was a gazelle….and my lungs were on fire. Actually, I started coughing so I slowed down, and that’s when my lungs felt like they were about to explode. So much for running while being sick. I did run for longer than I thought I would though (a total of about 5 minutes).

Since I couldn’t run, I decided to go back to the park. There were beautiful lilac bushes. Some kids gave me some lilacs today. It was very sweet, even if the flowers were a little (a lot) wilted from being held in grubby little hands for who knows how long during recess. I decided I wanted to pick some. Trouble is, the ones I could reach were on the street side and I didn’t want anyone to see me. I don’t think picking flowers is allowed in parks, but there’s no sign or anything. Anyways I went to the other side and jumped around and grabbed at the branches untill I had a few flowers. I sent all kinds of tree bits and leaves and maybe a bug down the front of my shirt, but it was worth it. I also picked some blue flowers.

I like to take before and after pictures. This is before and after my run/walk/flower picking expedition. I still have dark circles under my eyes, but I think I look happier after playing outside.

So this is what I learned today: when you’re sick, walk, don’t run. Or even better, pick flowers!

The princess and the pea

Imagine you’re a princess going to a yoga class. Now imagine a pea a little smaller than a tennis ball. Now, you have to roll around on this kind of hard, rubbery pea. No mattresses between you and the pea. Sound like it’s going to hurt? You’re right. It’s supposed to hurt. Otherwise, you’re not doing it right.

Now, before you think I’m some weird masochistic yoga freak, let me explain.

This morning, I went to a yoga class at lululemon (yay, free class!). Todd was teaching a Tune up class. I’ve done a class with Todd before, at Pure, and I loved it. I had not done his tune up class, but I figured it would be just as awesome. It was, but not in the same way.

He handed us two rubber balls and warned us it was not easy, lazy yoga, but princess and the pea yoga (I didn’t come up with that catchy title on my own). First, he had us take a forward bend and told us to pay attention to what it felt like and how far we could reach without bending our knees. Surprisingly (or not) my hands did not touch the floor. My friend Dominique, who was beside me, had her hands flat on the ground. But whatever. Yoga’s not a competition you know.

After the forward bend, we placed a ball under each heel and rolled it around. We shifted our weight from side to side and back and forth. Then we placed the ball under our arches. Some people did not like this. We ended with the ball under our toes. At the end of all this, we took another forward bend. I did not notice if my hands went down more, but it sure felt better all the way up the back of my legs!

After working on our feet, we worked other parts of our bodies. Arms, legs, back, shoulders, neck. Todd told us that if we found a spot where it really hurt, then we should keep working it, because our body was telling us it needed help. We were also told to make sure that after we stopped, it felt good. If we felt like we had bruised something, well, we did something wrong.

You can’t see the ball too much here, but it’s under my arm. Don’t be fooled by my “I’m at the beach” pose. I was working my tissues something fierce.

Both Dominique and I really liked the neck, shoulder and upper back work. It felt like something was letting go. Of course, that’s after we stopped rolling around on that big giant pea. This is good for runners. It was easy to tell when someone found a good spot because we kept hearing “ugh”, “arghh” and “ahh” noises. Pretty funny stuff for a Sunday morning. I believe I made some of those noises as well, when I was rolling around on my neck.

This class felt like a massage. One of those let-me-find-every-knot-you-have-and-knead-it-like-pizza-dough massages. I went running after class, and I could feel the difference in my upper back. Good stuff.

I had done a little of this tune up stuff before, in Natalie’s beginner class, but I didn’t know what it was called. Now I know, and I’ll definitely do it again!

Running with my camera

Today was a gorgeous day! The nicest we’ve had this spring since that freakishly hot week in March. I decided to go for a run. If I want to be a real runner, I have to run.

I drive across a bridge every time I go to yoga, and there are always people running along the water. I wanted to do that too. I discovered that my camera fits perfectly in one of the little elastic pocket things for the mini water-bottles on my fuel belt, so I swapped out one water bottle for my camera. That still left me 3 bottles. That’s 24 ounces of water and let’s face it, I wasn’t going to run a marathon here.

I didn’t time myself, or even check to see how far I was going. I ran, I walked, I took pictures. I kept wandering off the path to get closer to the water. I made friends with a blue-eyed husky. I heard bits of conversations as I ran past people. My favourite was the girl telling her running partner how much she really wanted sweet potato fries.

I encountered quite a bit of wildlife for a run in the city. The first was a groundhog. I named him Juan. At first, I thought he might be dead, but he was just sleeping. He woke up and smiled at me. Actually, I think it was more of a go away and leave me alone look, but whatever. He was cute.

I ran a little more, then I met Dolly and Daniel. They’re ducks. For some reason, they were swimming against the current. Dolly was doing ok, but Daniel kept getting swept away. It was pretty funny and I laughed at him untill I realized it might be bad karma, so I encouraged him instead. He finally caught up with Dolly.

I started running again, only to stop and look at a tree. He didn’t have a name, that’s just silly. But it was a really nice tree. Also, I wanted another little break, so I took a picture.

After my tree break, I ran until I saw some pretty purple flowers. Obviously, I needed a picutre. I’m pretty proud of this picture, because the backround is out of focus. I’ve been trying to figure out how to do that. I’m actually not sure how I did it though.

I was looking for a photogenic bird, because that was the word for my photo a day challenge today. I saw this flighty little thing on a branch. Her name is Raven, even though she’s not a raven. Kind of like when people call their child Apple or Dallas. She kept moving around, but finally she stopped to pose.

I ran some more, then decided I wanted a picture of myself. Let’s hear it for self-timers. I had a scary few seconds where I thought my camera was going to fall off the rock and into the water, but it all turned out ok.

All in all, it was a great day. There was more walking than running, I think. But since I haven’t really been running lately, I feel pretty good about running at all. I had a good time taking pictures and I think my new friends liked having their photo taken. Well, except for Juan, but that’s just the way he is.

Why I run

Today is a cloudy, almost rainy day. Instead of going for a run, I figured I would just blog about running. That’s kind of the same thing, right?

Sometimes, I feel like I’m cheating by calling myself a runner. Runners are athletic people. They run marathons. They eat (or drink?) those little gel packet things. They have weird running shoes with toes. A 5k run is a breeze.

I have to train to run a 5k. But, I’m guessing even the runners had to start somewhere. They must have trained for a 5k at some point. What I wonder is, what motivates someone to run a marathon? Those things can kill you. My reasons for running seem to be very different from other people. Then again, I’ve never asked anyone why they run.

This is why I run:

– To run away from a bad day.

– Because I can.

– I like the sound my feet make on the pavement.

– I enjoy the adrenaline rush.

– Runners are cool.

– Because I love it. I can’t explain it, it’s just fun.

– It’s more exciting than going for a walk.

– Sometimes, because I over did it on the brownies.

– When I’m running, nothing else matters.

– After a run, I feel like I’ve accomplished something amazing.

Actually, those seem like pretty good reasons to run, now that I’ve written them down. I think I’ve actually managed to motivate myself to go running. Yay me!

What are your reasons for running?