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Be Free to Run and Run to be Free! Namaste~

Archive for the ‘Running’ Category

Runner Uncovered

pixabay runFor 20-years, running has been my primary source of fitness and I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know quite a few runners along the way. My connections have ranged from deep rooted friendships that developed through time on the pavement, to the camaraderie of local running clubs, to most recently coaching a middle school Cross Country team. My time in the laced up shoes has afforded me a unique opportunity to witness some very common characteristics we runners seem to share. I don’t claim to offer any hard science behind my observations, but something tells me that most of my fellow runners (or lovers of runners) will agree that we runners share some common threads that are undeniable.

  1. We are deep thinkers. We analyze things to pieces. Spend time with a runner and you will doubtfully be talking about sports or the weather. We like to get down to the root of topics and ideas.
  2. We are perfectionists. Whatever we do, we try to do right. We don’t tend to take the path of least resistance but rather take all steps necessary to reach 100% every time.
  3. We are introverts. We like solitude and are perfectly ok with being alone with our thoughts for long periods of time.
  4. We are goal oriented. We like to have something to aim for. Whether it be our next PR, completing new mileage heights or just achieving the accomplishment of our next race – we gain satisfaction from some type of “Everest.”
  5. We are intrinsically competitive. We like to succeed and due to our introverted, perfectionist natures – we prefer a sport where we rely only on ourselves to reach our 100%.
  6. We are sensitive souls. We think a lot, therefore we feel a lot. We pick up on the energy of others very easily and tend to internalize situations that may have nothing to do with us.
  7. We are acutely aware of our surroundings. We know a car is coming before it can be seen or even heard. We inherently know if we need to clear the path for an oncoming visitor. We can even sense the mood of fellow runners we bypass on the roads.
  8. We are hard on ourselves. How can we not be when we are constantly thinking, analyzing, setting goals and competing with our last peak?
  9. We are full of passion. We love deeply. We work hard. We play hard.
  10. We are committed. We are not fair weathered athletes, employees or friends. When we are in, we are fully in. This is a group you can count on.

In a nutshell, we runners are a unique breed. Some understand us, some don’t. Some think we are crazy, some admire our tenacity. I for one couldn’t imagine life any other way. Running is part of my fiber. It has helped mold me into the person I am today.

I now have the joy of witnessing my son take on the running persona, and I have to tell you – I’m one proud mama. It brings me great joy to know that he is on a journey that will help him understand who he is and where he is going.Noah and me Run

It’s taken some time for me to recognize the common threads, but I’ve definitely had a glimpse at the runner uncovered.

The Introverted Mirror

The introverted mind is like an amusement park. It is a deep sea of imagination and creativity. Ever since I can remember, I found peace in being alone. As a kid, I could sit for hours in my room just thinking. Every bout of solitude would take me on an adventure – one that had no restrictions and no judgment.

My mother used to worry. She did not understand why I did not desire to be outside playing with the neighborhood kids all the time. After all, the social norm is focused on an extroverted lifestyle, so why wouldn’t a mother want her child functioning as part of the norm?

Children spend the majority of their time around other children. The average school day begins at 8:00A and ends at 3:00P. The entire day is spent in a classroom with at least 25 other people, often working in groups. Even “breaks” are additional social ventures…..tons of kids gathering in the cafeteria followed by the same plethora released to the playground to “unwind.” The amount of energy this requires of an introvert is indescribable. I remember wanting nothing more than solitude at the close of these exhausting school days. Nothing sounded better than curling up with my favorite book – alone in my room. Seemed perfectly normal to me….Until –

I realized that most kids wanted MORE interaction after school. The majority of kids in my neighborhood wanted to drop off their backpacks and hit the streets for play time! This always seemed like such a daunting task to me even though it was what I thought I was supposed to do. I often found my way out of it (faking sick was an easy go to), but many times I just ran with the pack to avoid being different. There were periods of my life when I chalked up this secret difference to just being shy. There were other periods when I thought I was just downright strange. With time, I learned how to play the extrovert game while finding ways to sneak in my ever-so desired quiet time. 2-years ago, I googled the word introvert. I had sneaking suspicions that I was one, but had worked so hard to become socially normal, that I really wasn’t sure. The book “Quiet: The Power of Introverts – by Susan Cain; came up so I bought it (oh the power of Amazon). What a game changer this book was for me. Susan Cain hit every nail on every head. Suspicions be gone….I am an introvert.introvert

Noah ViewMy son is 11-years young and I watch his introverted nature unfold with a sense of dignity. He has the same need to retreat as I did when I was his age. With a grateful heart I am fully accepting that this is a beautiful innate quality that will take him on inward journeys to places only he can go.

Is he still considered slightly out of the cultural norm? Maybe according to some. But studies show that an estimated 1/3 of the U.S. population is introverted. Just because we live in a culture that promotes constant social interaction as the norm, doesn’t mean it feels like the norm for everybody. There is something very freeing in this simple fact that we introverts are not alone.

I can’t say that my old cultural imbedded fears don’t pop up from time to time when it comes to my son. Every now and then a worrisome thought crosses my mind…Should he be doing what the masses do? Does he feel out of place? It doesn’t take me long to realize however, that his solitude is intentional. I find comfort in the realization that he is more than OK. He sees the world through his very own lenses and has everything it takes to be happy….right inside that magical amusement park of his mind. We talk about introversion all the time. I encourage him to do the things that make him happy, rather than running with the pack. He loves to read. He loves to write. He loves to dream. His though process runs deeper and more expansive than anyone I know.

I’m not only content with my own introverted nature, I am now grateful. I have the gift to deeply connect with someone just like me. We read together. We write together. We dream together. And now, we run together. It is on these runs that I get a glimpse of that deep, expansive thought process of his as he opens up to someone who can relate. And when we are done sharing our creative worlds, we run quietly…. side by side, each enjoying our own magical amusement park.

Sandy Hook Elementary Memorial 5k – Phoenix

StartOn Sunday, January 27 at 2:00 p.m. a group of over 50 people gathered at Max Muscle on Carefree Highway in North Phoenix to honor the victims of Sandy Hook Elementary with a candlelight vigil and 5K run. The local run was established as an extension of a national “virtual” Sandy Hook Elementary Memorial 5k and Half Marathon that swept the nation over the holidays. People across the country were invited to sign up for this virtual run for a cost of $20. All money raised went to the families of the Sandy Hook victims. Each participant received a special bib that listed all victims names and were asked to run either a 5K or Half Marathon on their own.
Candlelight VigilRunner and owner of YogiRunner Wellness Coaching, Denise Thompson – decided to organize a local event to bring the people of North Phoenix together to support this cause. The local event was non-competitive and was open to all ages.
Participants were encouraged to wear green and white along with the special running bib they received at registration. Many children attended the event, ranging from Kindergarten to High School.IMG_7803
Max Muscle was kind enough to open their store solely for this special run. The event kicked off with a candlelight vigil, playing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” recorded by the survivors of Sandy Hook Elementary. While holding their candle, each participant honored and stated the name of a victim. The group then proceeded to run a 5K together heading South on 27th drive and circling back around to Max Muscle. After the event, all participants gathered and enjoyed treats donated by Hot Bagels and Deli and Max Muscle. Due to the generosity of several local businesses, there were lots of prize drawings that included several restaurant gift cards, fitness coaching packages, massage, hair products and more. Sandy Hook rubber bracelets that were made by a family affected by the tragedy in Connecticut were sold for $5 each with all profits going back to the families.Here is a link to the news clip of the event that aired on Fox 10 news at 5:00 p.m. A slightly different clip aired on ABC 15 as well.

IMG_7861The event in North Phoenix was a true testament of compassion, generosity and love. Thank you to all participants who took time out of their day, and money out of their wallets to make a difference.

Sandy Hook Elementary Memorial Virtual 5k

Sandy HookWe will be joining together in Phoenix to lend our support for this virtual 5K to benefit the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.

Please be sure to sign up at http://www.active.com/half-marathon/tampa-fl/sandy-hook-elementary-memorial-virtual-half-marathon-and-5k-2013.

Once you register, you will receive a link to print your bib.
Please wear your bib and green and white clothing (Sandy Hook Elementary school colors) on the day we run to show your support.

This will be a fun, easy 5K starting at Mountainside Fitness Carefree, heading South on 27th Drive, and looping back to Mountainside. We will be running on a dirt path adjacent to 27th Drive.. Those wishing to go further are welcome to do so.

All are welcome, including kids. If you have any questions, please contact Denise at yogirunner@yogirunner.com

“Day Before the Race” Checklist

Approaching an unusual 15K race distance tomorrow, I decided to create a simple “day before the race” checklist that is applicable for any event from a 5K run to a marathon:

  • Hydrate and limit excessive caffeine intake.
  • Drink a nutritious smoothie using Coconut Water as the base for extra hydration.
  • Go for a light jog to get the blood flowing and the muscles loose.
  • Practice some gentle Yoga.
  • Utilize a foam roller or Yoga Blocks to break up fascia in the legs.
  • Soak in a hot bath with Epsom Salt.
  • Prepare and munch on Energy Balls.
  • Eat an well-balanced, energy packed meal early in the evening. My personal favorite is the Sweet Potato Stir-Fry!
  • Go to bed early and sleep well.

It’s important to eliminate any unnecessary physical or mental stress the day before a race. Your training is done, your body is ready – so just go out, do your best, and have fun! And whatever you do, just breathe. 🙂


Yoga & Running Unite!

Don’t forget to RSVP~

Yoga For Runners
With Chris Courtney, E-RYT

•90 min. specialized yoga workshop followed by an optional 30 min. run

•Focuses on the specific needs of runners

•Builds a strong mind-body-breath connection

•Works on key muscle imbalances

•Flows through a series of asanas and fascia-freeing movements

•Will help you run more fluidly while preventing injuries

Friday, October 19
6:00 – 8:00 p.m.
Mountainside Fitness – Peoria, AZ
9745 W. Happy Valley Rd.
$25/person or 2 for $40

To register email: yogirunner@yogirunner.com



Finding the Balance

One of the many benefits of running solo is it provides an opportunity to think. When I hit the pavement, it is truly a meditative time for me, one that I often use to ponder situations for which I’m seeking answers.

I set out for a 15-mile run today as part of my current marathon training. I was feeling some knee discomfort the first three miles, but by mile 7, I was enveloped by my runner’s high feeling like I could conquer 100 miles. By mile 10, my hips and hamstrings started tightening up, but by mile 13, I felt strong and limber.

As I worked through this series of physical and mental situations, I was asking myself the entire time, “Is it worth it at this point in my life to train for another marathon?” The reward of accomplishing another goal is huge, but the grueling training schedule takes a big toll on my personal life as well as my physical and mental being. Not to mention the effects the increased mileage has on my progressing Yoga practice.

I’ve been pondering the pros and cons for a couple of weeks now and have been conflicted as to what to do. And then it dawned on me – the place that I am at today, on my YogiRunner journey, is a place where I am seeking balance and peace. I love Yoga just as much as running and want to passionately practice both! I don’t want to sacrifice one for the other or go so extreme with one that it negatively impacts the other.  For once in my life, I am willing to take things in moderation.

So I made the decision. The decision to continue with my two passions in a balanced effort. Marathons will always be there for me to run. But for now, I want to be free to run and run to be free. No pressure, no pain. Just the continued peaceful practice of my two favorite activities; running and Yoga.