So yesterday was the Pasadena Half Marathon, 13.1 miles running around picturesque Pasadena, California, ending in the amazing, (and champion-feeling) Rose Bowl stadium. This one was a tough one for me. On most days, I feel I can step outside and run 13.1 and enjoy myself. But I did a lot of races last year, and then a painful torn gastroc calf in October, a speedy recovery right into the Malibu Half Marathon November 5th. My time was a let down for me even though with all better reasoning, I knew I had just healed my calf in two quick weeks! Anyhow, I felt burnt out. I didn't run too much at any great length since. But I actually did enjoy myself yesterday! My hip flexors started to hurt (and still do honestly), my left knee, my left ankle, my right toes felt jammed in my shoe, and did I mention it was 38 degrees when we started and didn't warm up much?! That did not help my untrained and un-warmed muscles! And despite having the worst time on my personal record, I feel a bit re-engergized to start back at it again! I can get out there on any given Sunday and run 13.1 with a ton of fun! (Believe me, I am completely aware that this only leaves me eight weeks to run 26.2 on any given Sunday!) But today is a new day! This week is a new week! A new day, a new run. Time to do my practice, yoga, refresh, and reset. We must exhale in order to inhale. We have to relinquish control in marathons and in life. We must let go of what we hold on to in order to experience the new. I must let go of yesterday in order to do tomorrow. Refresh. Reset. ...And if anyone has a great suggestion for marathon shoes quick, comment me!! (Gave up the Nikes Fly-Knit Free, currently in Adidas Pure Boost, strongly disliked Hokas...) I need a sock-like barefoot- feeling shoe to last me a marathon! 🙂
I tend to read more than one book at a time. Perhaps I get bored easily. Perhaps it says something about my ability to focus. Anyway… I’m reading Meditations from the Mat. In my defense, it is more of a daily chapter type book, a verse or page per day, so I need another book. Today, I read a bit where a man was always thinking “What’s in it for me? What do I get out of this?” And the suggestion was a slight shift to “What can I give” How can I be of service?” I don’t think I suffer from this issue, but it’s still nice to reflect on situations, “How many I offer something?” While inquiring about yoga teacher training recently at the yoga expo, I heard it said, “Think of it as an investment in your future.” But as I read my meditations, should it not be, “But how can I be of help? Could I be an investment in the future of others?!” I am a single mom of a twelve-year-old boy with severe autism. We have been living with autism, an incredibly-unknown disorder, for almost eleven years. From the beginning of my son’s diagnosis, I took everything head-on, knocked on every door, read every book, attended every learning opportunity with the mindset of open-heart, open-mind, love and acceptance. It is an incredible journey, learning and managing a child’s disability. During this time, I grew a passion for two things, running and yoga. One got out my anger, stress, sadness, ego, broken beliefs, broken dreams, while (literally) running from our situation if only for twenty minutes. The other picked up those pieces, made me whole again, gave me peace, gave me strength, made me connect, made me breathe, made me understand there is always a process, and gave me a reasoning beyond what we were living with. I found my time on the mat changed my life as much as anything else, and over eleven years, I have experienced profound change in my life. Over the last year I founded a non-profit, Aut2bFit™, connecting children with autism and their families with the athletic and fitness communities, pairing kids with athlete mentors, getting them out of simulated environments, therapy rooms, and social-skills classes, and into fun activities where the same motor-planning skills, social skills, and so many other abilities can be grown organically, all while having fun family time. I started this project out of my passion for my physical endeavors and my immeasurable love for my child! It was a thought that seemed to come out of nowhere, took shape and grew as if meant to be. I personally have had life-changing results from yoga, beyond the physical. Yoga has changed my stress level, changed my outlook on dreary days, changed my approach to life with a disabled child. There have been moments in class when I feel an epiphany, this would help my son, or the child he has therapy with. In yoga, we stop to take note of all of our senses; sensory issues are one of the key issues plaguing autism. I have decreased anxiety, by stopping and breathing, a practice I have taught my son over a couple of years. My son has had occupational and physical therapy for years, to help with the physical disabilities often associated with autism, and yet I catch him trying to copy my downward dog in the morning! Haha! I have a heart-feeling, the same feeling I had when starting the organization, that there is a bigger purpose here and I would like to be part of it. I feel yoga should be given to kids with special needs, specifically autism, and even more so, their parents. I cherish the moment at the beginning of class when the teacher shares an insight or intention! It always speaks to me. I feel that yoga speaks to me, and I could speak to our kids with autism, be its translator. I'm throwing around these ideas, of adding to my own practice, and giving it to others. We’ll see where this goes. I’ve planted the seeds of my ideas now, I wonder what will bloom.
Every once in a while, someone comments on how much I work out, or why I go to the gym. And really, I'm just like most people, I get busy, or find myself too bogged down with life and work to make it fit, and I get out of a good routine. But really, it's my sanity and I make myself go, for reasons way beyond the physical. This little comparison is something I always think about, and after trying to describe it to a few friends, I thought I'd make one of my "Lists." I hope it makes some sense... 9 Ways I think Marathon & Endurance Training Compares to Special Needs Parenting In the beginning, and many times after, you feel this is crazy… this was a mistake… this was not meant for you… no way… why did you take this on… you can't do it… and then you just start… and you're on your way. But it's only mile/year one. 25.2 more to go… Pace yourself. Breath deeply. Start slowly. Have an emotional release now and then. But find your own rhythm. Realize this is the long haul, not the sprint. There are many many days, where you can't even get out of bed. But you find a way, to put one foot down, then the other, one in front of the other, and you start moving. There are many many hours, you feel you can't do this. You seriously contemplate quitting. And as you almost do, you realize you have momentum and you can't stop. There are many many moments, where you want to throw up on the side of the road. And then you pick yourself up, clean yourself off, and you start on your way again. There are many many times, when you get discouraged. You feel after ten steps forward, you seem to be making two backward. Or you hit the dreaded plateau and doubt that you can go any further. Then something amazing happens, and you go full speed ahead, once again. There are many many days, you feel like this is the hardest thing ever, and you don't know how you possibly did it yesterday. But then tomorrow comes, and you realize, this wasn't hard at all, that's actually not so bad, and you can undertake more than you ever have yet. There are many moments, when you feel so desperately alone. In silence and in a world that not many share, all you hear is the sound of your feet hitting the pavement. And you realize that sound means you're putting ground behind you. That means you're making progress. And you see a goal nearing ahead of you. That's a feeling close to euphoria. So many many moments during it all, you feel the struggle, you push yourself, you're at your limits, and you're physically mentally emotionally exhausted and drained. And at the end, you realize your life has changed. You're a different person, for the inexplicable incredible better. You realize you are stronger, tougher, smarter, and capable of so much more than you ever thought was possible. You are someone you never knew existed. After it all, you are on top of the world. That is a feeling of euphoria. View Kristina's Portfolio | Contact Kristina | Find Kristina on Facebook or Twitter