My First Trail Run Experience

I had a pretty crazy week last week. I had a 4 day yoga workshop. Plus teaching my own classes. The result was I was on the yoga mat or the hammock (I teach Aerial Yoga as well) for 8 hours a day in the last few days. So when I finished my last class in the afternoon yesterday I couldn’t even think about the word “Yoga” anymore. Haha.

Sunday is my day off for teaching, and it’s also my “light yoga day”.  I usually wake up for a little bit of self practice and head off to take a light yoga class with one of my favourite teachers. However this morning when I woke up I had no slight motivation of getting myself on the mat.

As the new school year starts I am doing a small project with my son called “Try something new every day.” He is a very picky eater and also very skeptical about trying new things like new sports etc. In that spirit I decided to try something new myself. I went trail running.

OK. First of all… Not only I don’t trail run, I don’t run… I don’t even do much cardio. I do 10-15 minutes skipping a few days a week and that’s about it.

It was a community event organised by Lululemon Hong Kong starting from Wan Chai Gap Road into a beautiful shaded trail inside Aberdeen Country Park.  It was a very pretty trail covered in shades with trees, even with little streams and beautiful rocks… I am kinda embarrassed as the starting point of the trail is really 20 minutes away from my home and I have never been there.

I take a jog on Bowen Road from time to time… And during summer holidays in Japan I do jog a little. But I realised a Trail run experience is very different than jogging on a flat running trail.

We were led by experienced trail runners to look after us. I chose  to join “the slow group” which was nothing slow according to my standard. We started together as a group… and eventually because everyone’s running pace is different we kinda get separated. There were times that I was running side by side with others, and there were times I was just running alone. Unlike the flat trail, there are ups and downs. There are parts that are flat, and there are parts that you have to pass through rocks or roots of the trees. It’s almost like going on an obstacle course and you have to be quite mindful on where you go and where you step your foot.

When I was running by myself I couldn’t help but think… Trail running is just like walking our life. As your life goes on there are times where there are people around you to support you… and then there are people who just pass by… and there are time when you are just alone… There are ups and downs.. There are parts that are easy and flat, and there are parts that are challenging, that you will need to be careful and mindful and try not to slip.

No wonder a lot of people say running is the greatest metaphor for life. Normally when I run on a flat path I put myself in a meditative state and just let my mind drift. But trail running is different. I actually had to focus on every step I take. I also needed to be mindful about my tempo. Sometimes I can go faster, sometimes slower. There are times that I could push my myself a little bit more and times that I needed to ease off.

I admit I struggled quite a bit, probably because of the heat and I didn’t eat enough. Also I had a “side stitch” – a diaphragm spasm half way of the run. I was in quite a bit of pain and my heart was pounding so fast. At one point I thought I saw stars and was going to faint. I was quite surprised, as I thought I would be “fitter”. I guess after all my body was still so tired from the last few days and this may not be the best idea.  But I made it. 5km. In a little bit less than 1 hour. I was pretty proud of myself.

“I run because it’s so symbolic of life. You have to drive yourself to overcome the obstacles. You might feel that you can’t. But then you find your inner strength, and realize you’re capable of so much more than you thought.” -Arthur Blank

Kinda cool. I normally get inspired by yoga philosophy and practice. It’s great that I today, not only that I tried something new, burned 500 calories… and explored a “new” natural scenery in Hong Kong… I feel inspired and my mind refreshed.

Is it the run? or is this still my yogic mind running? =)

Oh.. another inspired thought. It’s time to do some “cross training” and do some other exercise than JUST yogal, I might have found a new hobby for the fall.

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