Professing myself a “runner” and “yogi” has been somewhat of an identity crisis over the years. To give you a short and sweet overview, I fell in love with running during my second year at the University of Virginia. Guess it was something about those monstrous hills…or more like the beautiful scenery and running culture. I’d still be caught on Grounds in my sneakers and running shorts, even though I was one of those pre-dawn runners—finishing my run hours before anyone else stirred in bed. I joined the yoga cult big time during my last year at UVa. Yoga and running were the perfect complements to each other. Hill running allowed me to power through Vinyasa flows and sit strong in my Warrior poses. There’s little that yoga didn’t do for my running, but most importantly it allowed me to start easing into my hips. Pigeon, time and time again will still make me shed a tear. We have a complex love-hate-hate relationship.
Anyhoo. I labeled myself as a “runner,” but not until being accepted into the 2011 New York City Marathon did I fully believe I was one. Maybe I mistook “runner” and “marathoner” as synonymous? Fast forward: I moved to DC, trained for my first marathon on top of my first career, stopped doing yoga, injured my hip (yes the one that was opening up from yoga), couldn’t run for the month prior, finished my marathon in 3:57:03, etc. Miracle XVI of my life.
Though I was set on running another destination marathon this Fall, the ole’ hip did not bode well through the spring. My sneakers lay fallow as I relieved myself of the obligation to run. Rather, I went to spin classes, lifted weights, and grew to enjoy HIIT (high intensity interval training). Something seems off here, right? No running and no yoga? I expected to be pilloried for abandoning both my identities. But I really couldn’t run without pain, and I had not found a yoga studio I loved in DC. A few months of diverting questions about my upcoming races and recent mileage felt almost like a lifetime of mendacity. It’s incredibly disheartening to not have the experiences you identify with in your life.
Now fast forward a few months (insert remote noise), I’ve been self-practicing, attending as many yoga classes as I can fit in, and…running. I was coaxed out on a run with a friend and with volant legs, we finished four miles pain and anxiety-free. These two complements are again in place in my life. My limbs are aligned. And. I’m. Loving. It.
My two selves say “Good Morning”
How do you describe yourself?
Do you identify with your heritage, career, sport,etc?