My really long yoga mat: aka my running trail

In addition to being a baker and yogi I am also a runner.  Today, I had a revelation of sorts, but first some history of me and running that seems like a good thing to share with you my lovely readers.  I have been running ever since my freshman year of college when I realized that I wasn’t going to play tennis for 3 hours a day so in order not to pile on the pounds I should do something else.  So I started running.  I didn’t enjoy it at first.  It was hot and sweaty and involved really early in the morning to get it done before I went to class.  But over the years, I have grown to love it.  It has been one thing that I have consistently done for the last 11 years.

The problem comes is that all my crazy head issues come out in my run and seem to be amplified because in running you are supposed to be hard on yourself and the “better run” comes when you just beat the crap out of yourself.  But the victory is sooo sweet.  When I beat my personal best and have just a really good run, I feel like I am walking on air, like my whole body just flows together and it is lovely.  So I push myself and heavily criticize myself when I don’t measure up. This makes the good runs really good, but the bad ones just suck. I am working on having just ok runs and being fine with this, but it kinda a struggle.

Enter my wonderful new puppy, Sophie (pictures!), who is just wonderful and the cutest thing ever.  I always tend to shy away from running partners as my run is generally my time to just be.  Although in recent years, I have had really nice runs with Jake, Jane, my sisters and some adventuresome friends.  You see running is way more personal that you might imagine.  Everyone has a different pace and different way of going about the run.  I have always wanted a dog to run with though.  I had visions in my head of sprinting along the path with puppy at my side, tongue hanging out (off the leash of course because the dog would be very well trained) and the two of us  just being at one with the trail and lovely day outside.

Yeah, not so much.  It turns out that a dog has an even more different pace than humans which is further complicated by the fact that they have four legs instead of two.  This is further complicated by the fact that Sophie enjoys running, but she would just as rather go chase the nearby bird, squirrel, bike passing us, or bark at the nearby dog and starting lunging for him.  So a run with her involves me winding up the leash and not being able to use one of my arms to pace myself and then letting the leash go as she settles into the run, but being constantly wary of any approaching interesting object to her.  It doesn’t sound like much, but I am realizing that it has basically turned my run upside down.  My times are bad and it is much more tiring to run when you are constantly on alert and reigning in a puppy. So I have been a bit down on running and sad that things didn’t quite measure up to what I had envisioned.  I know, shocking, expectations not met.

But today, I was running along and I had one of those lovely “aha!” moments.  I realized that if I were to apply yoga philosophy to my run, then each day the run should meet me on my path exactly where I am that day.  If there are lots of things for Sophie to chase, then I need to take the time to address that and somehow let go of my need for a good running time.  Besides, there is no reason that I have to get good running times.  It is just my ego.  Theroeticallly I am running for the exercise for both me and Sophie and I would do good to remember that original aim.  Sophie needs me to be patient with her while she learns to be a good running puppy.  Perhaps she also trying to remind me that there are so many interesting things to sniff out there that I really should do some sniffing myself.  This won’t be easy cause a good run releases so many endorphins, but perhaps that is no longer worth the cost.

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