Saturday, January 24, 2009

I Surrender

I have this love-hate relationship with running. I love the idea of running. Other people look so at peace when they run, and I want to be like them. Until today, however, I have hated the actual running part. I did not feel at peace. Instead, I felt my shins, my knee, my ankle, my hamstrings. My nose ran. When I ran at night I saw my shadow in the streetlights and thought, "wow, my butt is huge." I was approaching the run portion of the triathlon as something I just had to get through so I could say I did it.

Today's run was better than most. I set out to follow my usual route, but after a few blocks I headed down a different street. I had been avoiding this street, because it is heavily traveled and I was trying to limit the number of people who have seen me and my big butt running by, but today it felt like the right way to go. Maybe it was the distraction of the new route, but while running down that road I stopped thinking about all my various body parts. After awhile, I stopped thinking about anything at all and just surrendered.

We talk about surrender in yoga all the time. To surrender is to take all that limiting nonsense coming from your mind - "I can't do this," "I'm tired," "Something hurts," "Is it over yet?" - and let it go, trusting your body and some higher power to get you through. I've had some of my best yoga practices when I'm dead tired, so tired that my brain can no longer think. When I can't think, I just do, and I have breakthrough moments.

I once went to a 3 hour power yoga intensive after a long work week and a night with little sleep. It was at that intensive that I first did bakasana (crow pose).

I guess it shouldn't surprise me that after another long work week and a poor night's sleep, feeling drained before I even put on my running shoes, I had a running breakthrough. Once my mind stopped telling me I couldn't, I found that I could not only run, but run at peace. I ran 2 1/2 miles this morning, my longest run since I started training. When I was done, I still had enough in me to go to a power yoga class.

I've kept that peaceful feeling, and the energy, all day. I did hours and hours of housework, catching up after not being around much during the week. My bedroom, which usually gets left to last if it gets done at all, got a really good cleaning. Furniture got pulled away from the walls so I could vacuum every dust bunny. I dumped a throw rug that has been falling apart for months. Everything sparkles and shines. When I was done, I lit some candles and burned some incense, to clear the energy. I am looking forward to going to sleep there tonight. I am hoping I will sleep better and wake up refreshed instead of tired.

All I have to do is surrender to sleep.
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