Inversions and The Making of a Valentine’s Day Run

You know you’re sore when pumping the face wash makes your triceps throb. And really, my face wash isn’t that hard to pump, which makes me think that these headstands are doing something for my muscles.

Flashback to six months ago, when I first began going to two yoga studios I hadn’t been to before: Jivamukti and Yoga Vida. Both are great for different reasons. Both also make use of headstands during almost every class. And during almost every class, I opted out of the headstands.

On a few occasions, I was fortunate enough to work with one yoga instructor in particular at Jivamukti (their instructors tend to rotate, and I’m not able to choose what times to practice yoga; it all depends on my schedule) who told me to “just try it.” (Spoiler: It’s not that simple, and I didn’t accomplish this pose right then and there.)

I followed her lead, making a basket out of my hands for my crown, slowly walking my feet in toward my body like a mini downward facing dog of sorts. The position was awkward, and she told me I simply wasn’t ready to scrunch my feet into my body and to lift my legs upward toward the ceiling. But, she also encouraged me to practice this position to prepare my body for such a day. I did – which brings me to this weekend.

Yoga isn’t a regular practice for me. It should be, but it’s rare that I have the patience to go to a studio for the same reasons I don’t belong to a gym. It’s indoors, and it’s a hassle. Running isn’t.

What’s more likely is that I’ll throw a few poses or a short flow into my daily workout routine. A warrior II here, a pigeon pose there (LOVE pigeon pose!). I also continued to practice my pseudo-headstand, if only for the day when I might actually lift off my mat.

I think what pushed me over the edge – at least what I think did – was this past month’s push for push-ups. Just 30 days ago, I couldn’t do a “real,” non-girlie push-up – you know, nose to the floor and whatnot. Not a single one. After a month of slowly trying to get through one, then two, then three, and now 12 (I once did 18, but that’s just not an every day event), my arms started to gain strength.

With that, I was lying on the couch over the weekend when I though to myself, out of nowhere, “Well, why can’t I do a headstand?” It was as simple as that. I tried it, and I did it.

Just two days later, I can now get into that once-impossible inverted position pretty easily, and I’m beginning to understand the dynamics of it (where weight should be distributed, how to find balance, etc). You’re welcome for the visual of my behind.

There are so many ways to find achievement in running. You can PR and PDR and PDR-in-snow.

But there is only one moment when you can say that you stood on your head for the first time. For me, that was this week.

Remember when today is Valentine’s Day? Oh right, that “holiday.” Not to be a negative Nancy; I’m all for the romantics who love this day. It’s just, when you grow up in a family who has a chocolate store, Valentine’s Day means A) You have to work and B) You have to work. So really, the day never managed to capture my heart.

Last year though, Noah and I figured out a way to make this one day a year seem somewhat special despite the hype. We run.

Anywho, I slept late today (somehow I’m more tired than ever), packed a bag filled with sneakers and pink glittery 180s, and went off to work. I picked up delicious cheese during my lunch from the very unfancy East Village cheese shop (um, hi $11.40 for three types of cheese at half a pound each). I’ll leave on time today, as in I will not stay late at work, to meet Noah for a solid run on the West Side Highway – a part of town I love but hardly get the chance to frequent. It’ll be dark, but I’ll pretend it looks like this.

Tonight, in honor of The Long Run – that book I can’t stop obsessing over – I won’t run in any particular direction. I just want to see where our legs take us. Then we’ll go home, and celebrate the only way we know how on a Tuesday night: Wine, cheese, crackers and Storage Wars. Just kidding. (Kind of.)

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