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No longer “Chasing Boston”

It’s been a while since I have posted a blog. I have sat down numerous times with no success in posting what I had written. Perhaps it is the part of me that second guesses and asks “is this worthy, am I enough?” It is human nature to doubt ourselves to allow outside opinions make us feel less than our worth. The truth of the matter is we are all enough we just have to believe it!! Hope you enjoy my journey.

Well it FINALLY happened. I achieved my goal of qualifying for Boston! It wasn’t easy but it was most definitely worth it. I set out on this journey in November 2013, after running the New York City Marathon. It has felt like an uphill battle. Thanks to the love and support of my family, friends and my yoga practice my journey has come full circle.

Let me start in 2014, it proved to be a tough year for me personally and physically. After months of training, intense yoga teacher training and starting a new job I was ready to give my best try at getting my BQ time at the Disney Marathon in January 2015. To my dismay it wasn’t in the cards for me, during a training run on December 25, 2014, I had intense pain in my foot and was later diagnosed with a stress fracture. After months of recovering and then several months of running through pain I wasn’t all that confident that I would ever hit my BQ time goal (at least not in my current age group). No matter the challenges I was determined to give it my best but with a different mind set an open-mind set.

Fast forward after running Disney World in my boot in 2015, I took the time needed to recover. Once I recovered I broke down and got a coach and joined Team Rogue (a running group with some really amazing runners) I had wanted to join this group in the past but I always felt like I wouldn’t be able to hang with them. Keeping an open-mind and believing I am enough allowed me to surrender to my insecurities, my doubts of not being good enough. I started training with them in June of 2015. I had deferred running Missoula Marathon in 2014, so it was on my calendar for July 2015. I was nowhere near ready to run at the pace needed to qualify. I would be running this race no matter the condition I was in so I made the best of my situation. I decided to use this race as a base, it had been 15 months since my last marathon, to see where I was and what I would need to work on for the next marathon. I ran Missoula in 3:47:48. I wasn’t sure how I pulled this off, I has happy my base was better than I had anticipated, yet disappointed that I came so close and still no BINGO. I reminded myself that I would have more training under my belt and to appreciate that I worked through some tough moments in the race. I cramped at mile 22, with 4.2 miles left to go I couldn’t hold the pace needed to come in under 3:45.

Pre-race photo with Bart Yasso

Pre-race photo with Bart Yasso

Lehigh Valley Via Marathon 2015…here I was toeing the start line and another opportunity to fulfill my goal. The weather wasn’t ideal, 61* with 80% humidity but I was’t going to let that affect me. I was healthy, I was well trained and I was in great company. Via Marathon is known for the last chance weekend to qualify for Boston. As my sister and I waited in line for the port-o-potty we looked around at all the Boston attire runners wore from previous years. I have to say it was a little intimidating but no matter I was happy, nervous and excited to be here. To be in the present moment. I wasn’t going to dwell on what if’s. With less than 2 minutes before gun time we said our well wishes to each other, we took our picture and hugged each other and said our infamous words “see you at the finish line”. I set off with 1000 other runners. Our friend told us he would be cheering/spectating at mile 2, 8, 13-14 and then the finish line. Knowing and looking forward to seeing someone cheering for you at any point in a marathon is just what can feed and fuel you when you are tired or having doubts. The gratitude I have for my friend is limitless. Thank you, Bart!! The night before the race we had dinner with friends one of them designed this course so we had good insight as to what to expect the other had ran the race last year. My sister asked if they had anything they wanted to share with us about the course. Boy am I glad she did, John shared two things we should be aware of, one delta and one positive. The positive was mile 2 was downhill and to be aware that we would shave time off but not to worry it was still early in the race. Low and behold this was my fastest mile!! The delta was around mile 25.5 you would hear the crowds from the finish line; you would even see the finish line but you would still have 3/4 of a mile left to run.

Break down of my race: my goal at halfway point was to cross at around 1:50:30, I crossed 13.1 at 1:49:30, I felt good, I had typical aches but no real pain, my lungs felt strong. I made small talk with several runners. I asked if they had a time goal, every runner I asked had a time goal they were trying to achieve. Several runners had goals of 3:30 and 3:35. I thought to myself ok I have to pull back my goal is 3:40 and I am going to burn out if I continue pushing this pace. Even though I felt good at that time. I know from experience that it can turn ugly real quick. Especially if you don’t leave gas in your tank for those last 6-8 miles of the race. Mile 20 I could hardly believe my time was 2:43, even if I ran the last 6 miles at a 10 minute pace I would hit my BQ time. I had to stay strong and push on. As I ran I reminded myself how grateful I was that I was strong and capable. I used my yoga breathing skills, pranayama, throughout the race but I really honed in on it as I pushed the “final leg” of the race. I inhaled love, my love for life, my love for health, my love for my family, my love for my perseverance. I exhaled gratitude, my gratitude for my family, gratitude for the strength I have, gratitude for “being

selfie

selfie

enough,” my gratitude for overcoming so many obstacles in my life. Mile 24, what?? how the heck was I at mile 24 already did I really only need to run 2.2 more!! Time 3:18…Holy Smokes I could potentially cross sub 3:40, was I dreaming? The word HOPE comes to my mind…Hold On Pain Ends. Mile 25ish I hear the crowd, I see the finish line but I knew what to expect. The route to the finish line is basically a jug handle, you go around in a loop over an overpass to get to the finish line. Knowing this was crucial in the final stretch of the race. (Tip from guy who ran it last year.) Knowing this information kept me strong in the final stretch. The cherry on top was seeing my friend at mile 26. Finish line here I come!! I cross the finish and the clock is 3:37 something. I’m overwhelmed emotionally. I feel the water works coming, tears of happiness, tears of accomplishment. As I continue down the runners chute I stop to get “crowned” and hug the person who hung my medal around my neck. I walk to the medic tent to get ice for my legs and sit for a moment. I sit silently absorbing the present moment. A moment I will forever remember.

Namaste

Melanie, YogiRunner

 

Yoga with Melanie
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Yoga Class, Take 1

Let me begin with saying how incredibly blessed and grateful I am for the wonderful people in my life.

It’s official I taught my first yoga class. I knew it wouldn’t be perfect after all it would be my first full 60 minute class on my own and I hadn’t really been able to have a personal practice due to my stress fracture. Which by the way, I refused to believe that’s what was wrong with me. Especially after being misdiagnosed by an orthopedic surgeon who specialized in the foot and ankle. Seriously, his diagnosis was that I had weak ankles.. my reaction was WTF I’m a yogi runner!! I have strong feet or at least strong ankles and my ankle doesn’t hurt!! The top of my foot hurts!! All I have to say about that is thank God for my sister for her guidance in getting me fixed up. I’m happy to report that I’m finally boot free. It’s still difficult not running (doctors orders) but I plan on going for a few runs this week. I’m ecstatic to report that I finally was able to attend a few yoga classes this past week. With that said here’s my tale:

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My first class!! 2/21/15

I was a nervous wreck. I was sweating like crazy!! I keep going over what was to be a perfectly scripted class. As a yogi I strive to keep a balance in life, I try not to get worked up. When I’m on my mat it’s my time let go of what doesn’t serve me. Running is also my outlet. It helps me work out my doubts, it gives me time to think things through. I also get my best ideas while running. The two together keep me from losing my mind. Not having either one of these outlets had me on pins and needles. I felt like I was losing my mind. I had my doubts about my class. Was I gonna be horrible, was anyone going to attend, was I going to screw up? I had thoughts of why was I doing this, why was I putting added stress on myself. I finally had to come to reality. The reality was that I was teaching a class and I had to be the best me in that moment. Regardless of what the turnout it wasn’t a life or death situation.

My goodness!! That was the longest hour of my day. It turned out to be a very rewarding, humbling and learning experience. So many of my friends showed up to support me. They offered their love. I was honored that they took time out of their day to share this time and space with me. So as class began we set out on our journey many of them were attending their first yoga class. Talk about pressure!! My class theme was about love. Loving yourself or the love you give or accept from others. I was definitely feeling the love and energy in the room.

So we survived the hour!! Did I screw up? Yes! Did I puke? No! Did I learn from this journey? ABSOLUTELY!! I learned it’s not easy but anything worthwhile is never easy. I learned that I am courageous. I learned I love learning, I will forever be a student, life is about growing. We truly never master anything without the desire to continue to educate and teach ourselves. I also learned I love sharing my love for life.

So from the bottom of my heart I thank all those who attended my first class. The love and light in me bows to and honors the love and light in you. Namaste

Melanie

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Ready to Boot “the boot”

Sorry for the delay in posting a new blog. I guess I’m having bloggers block. As you all know when we hit the ground running with our blog I was healthy. I was running and preparing for the Dopey Challenge in Disney World. I had just completed my yoga teacher training and then BOOM, out of nowhere I end up with a stress fracture. On a bright note, I’m healing!! Yes it’s been a slow process but it’s progress in the right direction.

Once I returned home from Disney World all I wanted to do was sleep and that is exactly what I did!!! Rest, rest and more rest. I literally would go to work, crawl in bed the second I got home from work and sleep, then eat, then back to sleep and repeat. This went on for 2 weeks. I felt like Jenny from the movie Forest Gump!! It was like I hadn’t slept in years. I went from being an early riser to not wanting to get out of bed at all. This is so not me. I always have 50 things I need to do or want to do but my body wasn’t having of that nonsense. I’m glad to report that I finally feel rested. I am nowhere near running at this point but thanks to Kip, my sports therapist, I have been able to walk out of my boot for an hour or so per day. It isn’t pain free but it’s manageable pain. His advice: “your will has to be greater than your thoughts.” Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional. So everyday after work I’ve been taking baby steps without the aid of my boot. I’m ready to give the boot a boot but per doc’s orders I need to remain in the boot until my next visit. February 4th needs to get here already!! So until then I will take it one day and one step at a time.

Thanks for all your continued love and support.

With love and gratitude, Namaste

Melanie