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Sunday, July 15, 2007

identity crisis

three years ago, if you were to ask me to describe myself in one word, without hesitation, i would say i was a runner. after all, when i wasn't attending to my work and mothering responsibilities, i was either training for a marathon or running in one. or doing volunteer work for my running group, the la leggers -- writing the weekly email update, putting together teams for races, or organizing ski trips to mammoth and run trips to san francisco for the bay to breakers. i could rattle off the dates of upcoming local races and most major marathons. at that time, i had already spent a good dozen years or so roaming the country, checking off state after state to complete my collection of marathons. it was clear that my life revolved around running and anything related to it.

every time i was sidelined, whether it was due to the occasional muscle pull or something more serious like a bunionectomy or a temporary course of blood thinners because of a blood clot, i would lay low until i got the doctor's go-ahead, then jump right back into running.

that was until i had that fateful ski accident in yosemite. i can't even say it was a spectacular fall; my ski caught on my friend's as we were getting off a chairlift, my knee slowly twisted past where it should have been, and pop went my ACL. i fell down, and my first thought was that i would have to be benched from running once again. what a pain. literally.

the next few months went something like this: surgery, crutches, physical therapy, knee brace, more physical therapy. walking, swimming, and cycling were encouraged. running, on the other hand, was a no-no. in fact, i was told that i should take the word "marathon" out of my vocabulary; 5Ks would have to be my new event of choice. and i could do that only when he gave me the OK to start running again. bah. no runner wants to hear that.

i was depressed. not only could i not run, but the muscles around my knee were so tight that i couldn't even touch my heel to my butt. not wanting to be "defective" for the rest of my life, i looked for a solution. i found yoga. and the rest, as they say, is history.

and now that i've replaced one addiction for another, the runner in me still fights to reclaim its dominance. and for the most part, i've tried to humor her. first by walking, then running, i've built up slowly from 5Ks, to half marathons, and finally back to the full 26.2 milers. unfortunately, i'm running much slower than i used to, and it's all because i'm spending more time doing yoga than putting in the miles on the road. it's gotten to the point where i'm beginning to wonder if i should ease up on the yoga and pay more attention to my running...

so it excited me to no end when i heard about lululemon pasadena's yoga for runners event, which was held this morning on the lawn outside the rose bowl:

Luna Tour 2007 - Join us for a Run and some Yoga!

Join us for our first Luna Tour. We're going to have a Yoga for Runners with two of our great ambassadors: Jim Liston and Scott Lewicki.

Cardio/Run at 9am
Yoga at 10:15am

it was a small enthusiastic group that showed up, with half of the participants coming from the lulu/luna crew that had organized the event. no one felt the need to compete with anyone else; we were all there just to have fun.

we started out with a strength and conditioning session led by jim liston, athletic coach and founder of CATZ - competitive athletic training zone located in pasadena. jim had us running forward, backwards, and sideways. and hopping, skipping, and jumping. then lunging and twisting. and those were just our warmup drills! he then divided us into groups, with each group rotating through various exercise stations that involved sprints, repetitive lunges and squats, and plank holds with alternate arm and leg raises. so while we didn't exactly end up running laps around the rose bowl as i thought we would, we did put our arms, legs, and core through a rigorous workout.

after a rest break where we munched on luna bars and quenched our thirst with luna elixir, we were ready for the yoga portion of the event.

scott lewicki, an anusara instructor who teaches at mission street yoga in south pasadena, helped us lay out the lululemon yoga mats on the grass under the large shade trees. we started with some gentle stretches then transitioned to some sun salutations. after we had sufficiently limbered up, we started the fun part of the class -- working with partners. we helped each other do handstands (adho mukha vrksasana), upward bows (urdhva dhanurasana), dolphins (ardha pincha mayurasana), and even some 2-person poses, thankful that the grass underfoot was a very forgiving surface.

it was a great way to spend a sunday morning with new friends whom i hope to bump into again somewhere around town -- either while running at a race, practicing at a yoga studio, or even shopping at a lululemon store.

so while i still haven't figured out how to balance both the running and the yoga, i've gotten to the point where i now consider myself a running yogini :)


Blogger Unknown said...

It was Bob's ski, not mine.

5:49 PM  
Blogger joni said...

thanks for clarifying that... although it was your idea that the three of us share that chairlift :)

9:59 AM  

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