lessons learned: reassessing goals as a yogi & a runner

Leave it to Kali to give you a good kick in the rear end when you need it. She wrote in her post yesterday about doing what you love. Her main point: if you don’t like doing a physical activity, pick another one to enjoy. She noted not everyone loves running and that’s okay. There’s plenty of other ways to enjoy fitness and to reach your goals.

Over the years, I’ve had a love/hate relationship with running. I started running because it was the one thing on my fitness bucket list that I hadn’t been successful at. In the past few years, I’ve run two half marathons and several smaller races, having a great time at all of them. Running has taught me a lot about myself: emotionally, mentally and physically.

But I’m not a natural runner – my body is built to do other things better.  I’m much slower compared to my runner friends. I take walk breaks (which I’m perfectly fine with but others apparently are not). While running, I’m uncomfortable the majority of the time, which gets me out of my body and into my mind, which leads to the self-doubt demons jogging along side me.

It’s not all negatives with my relationship with running: I love the runner’s high after a workout. I love how my body looks when I’m on a consistent running schedule. I love the camaraderie amongst runners. And while I find myself longing to run as the weather breaks, my yoga mat is doing the job that run several miles used to do.

In her post, Kali wrote “Set a goal, reward yourself, get your friends involved, have a good time, dream big.” And I realized, I have done those things with my love of yoga:

set a goal: completing this goal setting exercise from lululemon back in November changed my life. I fully acknowledged what my passions are and their priority in my life right now. While running goals were included, my yoga related goals were far more significant.

reward yourself: with something as simple a 90 minute class after a long, hard day, it’s always the answer to melting away my worries.

get your friends involved: by getting people to try something new and sharing opportunities for fun (and usually free/cheap) opportunities – like the opening of the Nishkama Yoga North Olmsted location on April 1.

have a good time: although I grimace through hip openers, I’m usually smiling through sun salutations and giggling through backbends.

dream big: They don’t call them “big hairy audacious goals” for nothing. because I’m ready to teach yoga. because I’m growing a yoga community every day. and because I want one of these of my own one day:

photo (8)

So why am I committing myself to a half marathon on May 20th? The answer: I’m not anymore.

What I can do is find enjoyment in one of the shorter races to still celebrate what the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon has to offer runners of all types – including us yogis whom can’t seem to let it go completely. Even with my yoga schedule, my body craves cardio to stay balanced and at my “happy” weight. Race weekend is just over two months away (and yoga teacher training starting next week) and it’s time to commit to the commitments I’ve made as both a runner and a yogi.

That said, I have decided to run the 5K on Saturday, May 19th. I know I have the 10K in me, but with a yoga teacher training weekend the same as the race weekend, I have to be respectful to my long term career goals. I’m headed back to the trusty old Couch to 5K plan to get race day ready. Plus there’s two big bonuses to running the 5K: 1) I get to run it with one of my best blog friends Amanda and 2) we get to finish on the field of Cleveland Browns Stadium! You know you want to join us – it’s only 3.1 miles!

So running: it’s not you, it’s me. There’s someone else in the picture, but perhaps you’d still see me on the side a few times a week…


In addition to being an all around life update, this post is part of my participation in the 2012 Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon blogging series. Read my disclosure here.

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  1. Jess says:

    I think this is the exact right decision for you my dear. Bottom line – do what you love, love what you do, and that’s that. This is where you’re meant to be, I firmly believe that my future yogi instructor in training!! So proud of you.

  2. John says:

    Good for you Alicia! Life in general is all about balance and doing what, at the end of the day, makes you happy. I used to love running. I was pretty good at it. But nagging injuries, constant pain, makes me love cycling, which I enjoyed long before I ran, and it certainly does not hurt as much! Good luck with the yoga instructor training. I know my buddy Maria loves it.

  3. Amanda @ Clue Into CLE says:

    Can’t wait to run with you! Like you, there are things I love about running — I love going on jogs around my neighborhood when the weather is great. Plus, seeing all of the great athletes on race days is really impressive. However, hardcore running is not for me and I don’t think even down the road that I’ll enjoy anything beyond a 10k. Nonetheless, if I love run/walking a 5K, there’s nothing wrong with that as long as I’m enjoying it. 🙂

  4. Carly says:

    Congrats to you for listening to yourself! You don’t have to run long races, or races at all to be a “runner”! Do what you are passionate about 🙂

  5. jobo says:

    Our minds are again on the same wavelength. We are similar runners, I do believe, too! Very much so. And this is why I am not committing to a half either. Or any race, really. I still ‘might’ at some point, but those things don’t drive me like they drive others, in any way, shape or form. I commend those that love it, but for me, I know deep down, it is just NOT for me. I’d rather enjoy running for the reasons I enjoy and make my own goals, paces etc. And focus on what I love as well…barre n9ne, all the way. Similar to you and yoga. Be respectful of your goals and your priorities and the rest will fall into place. So excited for you!!

  6. Susan says:

    Awesome job being honest with yourself. I had that heart to heart with myself about running recently also.

    I think it’s funny that you mentioned hip openers, because when I was in class the other day it reminded me how much I love pigeon and deep hip openers, and I HATE backbends And I would probably like sun salutations if I didn’t hate plank, chaturanga and downward dog so much… I love that yoga has something for absolutely everyone!!!

  7. Kristy (@KrisRunTri) says:

    great post Alicia! You have to be happy with your choices and that’s all that matters. you should never feel like you have to do something. Running the 5k is the best choice for you, and you are still a runner for that! We hope you will be cheering us on though on Sunday 🙂 we can all use an extra scream and shout!!

    and yoga is AMAZING! if running wasn’t my #1 choice, I’d be right there with you! I battle the opposite… I need more time for yoga but can’t take away from running 🙂

  8. Becca says:

    Alicia!! Get out of my brain!!! First, I am so happy that you decided on the 5k. I may join you!! I’ve been having this weird thing with my knee and I am not really running at all right now because of it – eventually I’ll go see a doctor, but until then I’m not adding impact to potential injury.

    Second, I have big plans for owning a studio some day, we should talk 😉

  9. Holly says:

    I also feel like I am not a natural runner. But for some reason I keep putting up with it! I have not found any other activity that consistently gives me the same physical results. In the summer I run more and get more trim and I pretty much love running for that.

    Winter runner sucks. Agreed!

  10. Kimberly @ SMITTEN...in cleveland says:

    I love everything about this post (and Kali’s).

    I’m not a natural runner. I hate it and it hates me. And I would only do it because I thought it would get my body somewhere I wanted and it was okay that I was miserable. Both you girls have taught me that I need to find what’s right for me and I thank you for all the advice and support you are constantly giving! xoxo

  11. Jessica B. says:

    My heart dropped a little when I read that you are not running the half 🙁
    Glad you are still running (even if you are cheating on my favorite sport with yoga) 🙂 Best of luck at the Cleveland 5K, one year I hope the marathoners can finish in the stadium as well.
    Also, does this mean you will volunteer on Sunday???

  12. Nescett @ bananaoats says:

    Yay to you for taking the step to becoming a yoga instructor. I have also been at a bit of a crossroads lately, and have spent a lot of time thinking over the concept you mentioned, “If you don’t love what you’re doing, find something else to do.” My new blog is the first step towards that and I have some bigger goals for down the line.

    Kudos to you!

  13. Dina's Days Blog says:

    First of all, I found your blog through another local blog (I’m in Akron) and I am in total awe of your dedication. I would have never ever thought that you lost 100 pounds today. You look incredible. Secondly, I totally understand what you mean about running. In 2010, I was on a serious running kick. I ran two 5k races within months of each other and was on a roll. All of a sudden, in 2011 I just stopped enjoying it. I’m tired, bored, thinking of other things, not breathing right, you name it. I joined CrossFit Akron in 2010 and although we do a lot of cardio and run more than I’d like to, I think I just find myself enjoying lifting and strength exercises so much more. Anyway, I’m glad I found your blog and hopefully we can meet in person at an OBA meetup sometime. Good luck with all of your races!

  14. KarinB says:

    Great post – I am currently working on a couch to 5k training program myself. I have never run a 5k before and am considering making the Cleveland Marathon 5k my first. I am in no way a natural runner – I struggle to run a few days each week. But reading your post made me realize that is ok. While I may never run a marathon, I can still be a short distance runner. I enjoy other sports and what counts is that I am striving towards a healthier, more balanced lifestyle.

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