Saturday, June 23, 2018
with Savage River Lodge & LPS Strength & Meditation
When I finish a trail run or bike ride, I seek efficient, effective yoga poses to decompress. To accomplish this, I do poses that stretch each part of the hips - the back of the hips, fronts and sides. The following four poses do just that. Hold each pose for 10 long, slow deep breaths or for one to three minutes.
1. Anjaneyasana Variation (Low Lunge)
2. Malasana (Buddha Squat)
3. Parivrtta Trikonasana (Revolved Triangle)
For detailed descriptions of each pose, refer to the Yoga Journal pose guide.
Yoga Trail Running Excursion
Saturday, June 23, 2018
with Savage River Lodge & LPS Strength & Meditation
Trail Run Tribe members Shane, Rachel and I traveled to Grayson Highlands State Park in southern Virginia to run the Grayson Highlands Half Marathon, the state's highest race, situated at 5,089 feet above sea level, on Sunday, May 6.
We chose this course because of these highlights, listed on the race website:
Yes, it was as spectacular and scenic as it sounds. Here I give you seven of my personal favorite, fun and surprising things from the race weekend.
1. After a night of torrential downpours, the weather gods turned in our favor and gave us a sunny, clear high 50-degree morning.
2. We saw LOTS of tiny, adorable wild ponies, in all colors, and even this wee baby.
3. Being at high elevation GOT TO ME. The total elevation gain was about 1,800 feet, similar to, the runs I do at home in southwestern Pennsylvania, but the actual elevation (feet above sea level) was more than twice as high as the mountains I run at home. At mile nine, I wanted to vomit. At mile nine and a half, I wanted to surrender and lie down as I attempted to trudge uphill with heavy legs. At mile 10, I fought against the feeling of passing out. At mile 11, nausea took hold. For two hours after finishing, these feelings lingered... but I was too ecstatic to let it get me down... keep reading to see why ;)
4. The downhills became my strength. Typically I love climbing hills, but with the effect of the elevation, I had to make up for lost time by throwing caution to the wind and running as fast as I could down the rocky, technical, wet trail. And guess what? I LOVED it!
5. I made two race buddies! It is rare that I stay with the same person or persons during an entire race. This time, to my delight, it happened. A young Spanish-speaking man by the name of Erick Martinez and a weight-lifting gentleman named Ray Mullins and I ran together for 2/3 of the course, laughing, chatting and encouraging one another. We bombed the downhills, smiled at the ponies and shared the agony of the hills. They finished just ahead of me - keeping them in view and hearing their hoots and hollers pulled me along. Thank you, guys!
6. I won second overall female out of 83 women and eighth overall out of 147 total racers (men and women). Placing high hurts so good (see number three) yet always humbles and surprises me. My time was 1:59:42.
7. My youngest son, Grey, took his first steps, at 13 months old, after the race in the hotel room while we were packing to go home. Maybe watching so many runners inspired him :) Go, Grey!
That's all for now. Here's to making memories and friends in another race. Until next time,
Before the 2018 Coopers Rock Trail Half Marathon results posted, this blog post was going to be an elaboration on how the banana and fair trade sea salt dark chocolate I ate 90 minutes before the race was a good choice, how much I enjoyed the warm yerba mate tea that filled the bladder of my hydration pack during the race, how the Scott Run section of the course was my favorite, how the beautiful finish line location surprised me (it ended six feet before the railing of the overlook, making you feel as if you were going to run right off the cliff!), how I could have shaved at least 60 seconds off my second-place time if I had not had to stop, remove my long-sleeve shirt and pack and figure out how to carry the shirt that would not fit in an unnecessarily overly-full pack... and more race-oriented details.
But my race angel, my dad, provided me with a better story.
Connection - link, bond, association, relationship
Running remained the singular connection that bonded me to my dad as a teenage girl.
When high school track season rolled around each spring, so did my dad (my parents were divorced, and I lived with my mom).
Track, running and racing gave us something to talk about and something to do together. A little part of me resented the fact that once the season ended, our connection thinned... Yet, I looked forward to each season and cherished these moments whilst still giving him attitude and eye rolls as he gave me advice that I always heeded.
Wear a weight vest and ankle weights during trail hill repeats? Absolutely, dad! Eat a spoonful of honey before my sprints? Yes, father! Run without regret? Done. Never look back? I never did.
It was his encouragement, our tightening bond and a shared passion that led to my obsession with breaking the 400-meter dash record as a senior at Uniontown Area High School in 2001.
He stood at the finish at every race. We had the same goal nestled in our hearts.
Then it happened. The energy rang high, the cheers blistered my ears, and my legs and lungs burnt. I crushed the record with a time of 61.3 seconds, and it remained unbroken from 2001-2016, for 15 long years.
Today, two things struck me. The first was that 61.3 is the exact age at which my father died - he was 61 years and three months old as his soul drifted to heaven on June 1, 2013. The second was that my record remained for 15 years. 15 was his birth date (February 15, 1952).
Sometimes our deceased loved ones come to us through dreams, apparitions, symbols, songs or nature. As many of you know, my deceased father comes to me via races in the form of numbers representing his birth digits (2-15-52).
When it began happening, it was obvious, such as in my bib numbers.
Then it became less obvious yet still radiant, such as via song or race time.
Eventually these incidences added up to equal 11 amazing, miraculous events where my father graced me at races.
After each occurrence, I always wonder, "can he possibly show up next time?"
Sometimes he reveals himself prior to a race. Sometimes it takes days for me to realize that he was, in fact, present, as was the case for the 2018 Coopers Rock Trail Half Marathon that seven of the women from my trail running group, my husband and I ran on Saturday, April 28, in West Virginia.
Feeling good and with a full night's sleep, I made a goal when I awoke: to race without regret. That is, to run fast and finish without feeling as if I could have run faster. I did (not counting the waste of time of the shirt removal mentioned in the first paragraph, lol!), and it earned my second overall female with a time of 1:58:11.
Soon after, my friend Rachel came across the finish with a time of 2:00:40 to cinch third overall female.
We cheered our group and Eric. All the women wore their running watches and knew their times. But Eric, my husband, did not look at the clock as he finished, and he does not wear a watch. Thus, he did not know his time.
Then, three days later, the results posted.
Eric ran it in 2:15:02. My dad's birthday, 2-15-52! Ah, dad, you did it again :)
The first time my dad linked me to my husband during a race was just last week, in the 2018 Mount Summit Challenge. Read about it in Dad, I Ran the Mount Summit Challenge For You, and You Showed Up in Three New Ways!
What began, three years ago, with me and my dad, has now become something more beautiful as it includes Eric, my companion, my love, as we bond over something that, like my dad, we had in common when we first met - running.
To sum up, Coopers Rock was the 12th incidence involving race angel dad and the second time he's reached out to Eric, to us. I race to meet him. Winning is just a bonus.
I'll leave you with this thought - some, mostly people who have never experienced a race before, view racing as "competitive," and that all who do so are highly competitive individuals. Yet, I beg to differ. Most runners race for the connection, a bond with other runners, the innate desire to be part of something bigger than oneself, the inner need for belonging, the love of spending time with a group who shares the same passion, to socialize, to cheer for others, to feel good together, as one.
It's all about the connection, with our friends on earth and our angels above.
Yoga Instructor, RYT 200