The Edge

I started running in 2007. I actually just had to look up my first 5k time to see that it really had been that long ago. I tried running a couple of times prior to that, but it didn’t take. My husband Patrick, an amazing runner and athlete, wanted so badly for me to start. But the more he pushed, the more I resisted. I’m a bit like a feral cat in that way. It was too far past my edge. Slowly something within me shifted, and with the support of Patrick and my dear friend Trudi, I decided to try again with a “couch to 5k in five weeks” training plan. I cried the first time I ran more than 2 miles. I had built it up in my mind so much and convinced myself that I could not do it.

After a couple of years, I realized that I could in fact run. To prove it to myself, I signed up for a half marathon, the Phoenix Rock n’ Roll in 2010. Alcohol was involved in this decision. It was also during this time that I started my yoga teacher training. No alcohol was needed for that decision. I came to yoga out of necessity, a need to feel whole, to feel a connection with my life.

Somewhere throughout this process the two worlds merged into one. Running is also my yoga. Both of these practices have taught me how to play my edge. How do I show up when met with physical and mental resistance? Can I relax into this space? Or have I pushed too far and need to back off? Running and yoga provide me opportunities to practice living my life. As I learn to manage my resistance and stay relaxed, I am better able to interact with life’s challenges, just as I would on the trail or on my mat.

Throughout this journey I have had the great fortune to practice with some pretty awesome people. For me, the great thing about a running group is the chance to connect with others who are learning similar lessons and balancing their own edges. Even though I’m outta dodge for the winter, I look forward to running with the West Michigan Trail Runners again soon. I’m pretty sure that Michigan breeds a special type of mental fortitude. I see your snowshoe posts and think, “WOW, could I do that?” Maybe next winter you can teach me what you have learned.

Right now Arizona is a pretty good place for me to work on my “seven week return to running after injury” plan. My stress fracture was a result of pushing my edge, although I did not see it that way at the time I was developing it. To motivate myself into a speedy recovery, I signed up for my first marathon, specifically, the Grand Rapids Marathon. Yes, alcohol was involved in this decision as well.

I imagine that many of you are facing your own edges this winter. And to you I say, “Be kind to yourself. Take the time you need to do what’s right for you.” I’ll see you when the snow melts. ☺