Daily exercises for breath, abs and cervical spine. One to two times a week upper body and additional core strengthening exercises. Twice a week yoga classes and every other week individual yoga lessons. Three times a week cardio workouts. This hasn't been an easy routine to get into. I had to 'take off the boxing gloves' and move into a state of total love and acceptance with my body. I had to focus on the joy in the journey and with loving detachment explore my inner space. I reframed the sense of tedium into living in a state of joy with my body, embracing all that is along with hope and possibility for what is yet to be. When I wake up in the morning, I take my time getting out of bed. First I practice breath and cervical spine exercises. I make a mental note to change which side of the bed I move from. While I am eager to check email, I have moved that down on my priority list of things to do first thing in the morning. My priority is to warm up my body for the day going through a series of breathing and stretching and strengthening exercises. Morning meditation and mindfulness is an integral part of my morning routine.
This morning, after a great night's sleep, I embraced the new day knowing that this was a day for my intense cardio work out. I incorporated the new exercises recommended by Pat Donaher, my individual yoga instructor, stretched, rolled out with my foam roller and mentally prepared myself for the day. I had a piece of toast, juice and banana with water followed in a half hour by another piece of toast and a bowl of oatmeal. More hydration. More warm up exercises and then off to Jamaica Pond.
The wather here in New England has been cloudy and cool for days on end. The sun broke through and a deep blue sky revealed itself. It was a perfect day for a run. My loving life and running partner told me he would pace me for the run. Next Thursday we have the Team Hoyt 5K. I ran it in 2009 after running the Boston Marathon. It was in blistering 90 degree heat. I struggled through it with my daughter Ruth Anne by my side. Last year I was still recovering from the resurgence of post polio symptoms and was on a running hiatus.
This year my husband and I registered for the Team Hoyt 5K while we were at the Hyannis Marathon Race Expo. It's a fun5K walk/run and I was drawn to doing it this year. It will be my first road race since the Hyannis 10K. Tom reminded me that I am not setting out to do any PR's. I told him that's correct but I do want to be able to have a 'good showing' in the race. I also told Tom that once a week in the good weather, I need to get out and open up my body - just like what you need to do for a car when you take it out on the highway and drive it at 60 or 70 mph. It cleans out the carbureator. We warmed up by walking for 5 minutes, enjoying how life had returned to Jamaica Pond. We also recalled the grueling winter trainings we have done around Jamaica Pond both for the Boston Marathona and then this year for Hyannis. Renewal and rebirth was everywhere. Geese and baby geese, turtles and baby turtles, flowers, huge leaves in deep green on the trees - all reminders that after the long, hard winter, there is joy and rebirth.
I kept an eye on my heart rate and when it stayed at 160 for too long, Tom and I would slow down. I didn't watch the time but monitored how I felt. I tapped into how I feel when I m running. There was no struggle today. Running felt so natural and free to me. What a miracle considering I put on my first pair of running shoes three years ago at the age of 54. Did I ever in my wildest dreams see myself as a runner, as an athlete, as someone who every day is dedicated to health and fitness? Did I see myself practicing yoga and delving into parts of myself that I thought would forever stay buried? Did I see myself aware of how I felt in my body and feel connected to my body? HELL NO! The joy I felt running side by side with my husband (and today he needed and wanted to run to pace me) is indescribable. No longer being left out or left behind and being able to move is something for which I am so grateful. To sweat and have my heart rate at over 100% of my capacity yet feeling okay at that pace is marvelous.
After twice around Jamaica Pond, 3.2 miles my average heart rate was 145 with a peak of 165. My pace per mile was 13:47 but these are just numbers. What matters most to me is how I felt inside my body. I felt free. I felt a sense of Oneness with Life. I felt a deep sense of joy to be a part of nature hearing birds serenading my run and watching turtles with necks outstretched toward the sun lying on a tree limb in the middle of the pond. I felt cleansed with the sweat that was pouring off of me. It was a magical and mystical run on a Spring day at Jamaica Pond when it all came together.
God bless, be well and feel the joy
From my heart to yours with love and gratitude,
Be sure to vote for me in Impowerage's
writing contest, "It's Never Too Late To..." I'm a finalist with a grand prize of having my story featured in Impowerage's website and $500 cash.
Links to educate, inspire and enjoy:
Pure Fit Radio
Yoga and Depression
Mind Body Solutions
Life at this Pace
- Anna Ward's blog post
Pray to Heal
For all things yoga in the greater Boston area and the beyond check out:
The Sassy Yogini
For individual yoga lessons and a wonderful musician visit:
Check out these wonderful yoga studios:
Back Bay Yoga
and Sweat and Soul Yoga
End Polio Now
Saluting the Spirit