Welcome Back to the Path, Warrior Girl, but Beware the Detour

I forgot where I was going.

You know how sometimes you walk purposefully to the kitchen because you need grab the phone book from a drawer, but en route, a stray sock catches your eye and you realize that you should really throw on a load of darks, and so you find yourself standing in the kitchen with a single sock in your hand and no idea why you’re there.

Like that.

I look back through my most recent posts and see no sign of running or obstacle race training. It is all about the yoga. Yoga is fine, excellent even, an important part of my training and an exciting addition to my life. But it was intended as an adjunct to my warrior race training, not a new destination. This side trip is eerily reminiscent of my first return to training in the spring, when I veered off course for seven weeks out of ten.

What to do? Pull on my running shoes. Also, my baseball hat, my sunglasses and my IPOD in its Velcro armband.  I carefully string the earphone wires through the sleeve of my shirt to avoid having to repeatedly bat them out of the way while I run. I grab a water bottle and my notebook and place them at their station at the end of the driveway. Sometimes feels like I spend more time arranging myself and my accoutrements than I do running, thus leading to other tangents if I am not vigilant (heaven forbid my IPOD not be charged). Eventually, I head out the door, the laces of my running shoes double-knotted against calamity.

I choose a simple mantra for my day. Breathe. Breathe deeply, with attention. Not difficult, right? Then, start back easy: three short obstacle circuits with two 1-km runs interspersed. A dash down the pine forest path, once back-and-forth through the tires, over the playground, under the trampoline, sprint for the fence. Well, ‘sprint’ is a bit of a stretch. Still, it is a gentle return, particularly when compared to the Spartan Race workouts I had emailed to my inbox every day for two months. Go for a ten mile run. Stop every mile and do 30 burpies, 30 v-sits, 10 push-ups. Could I do that? Yeah, I could if I could just skip the running part. Uh, no. This is the Warrior Dash, we are training for, dear, not Warrior Stays Put. That’s yoga, remember?

On my way around circuit one, I spy a half dozen fresh mole hills and wonder if I should add a section of raking to the course.  I steel myself against the temptation and keep moving.

“Focus, dear one,” I mumble to myself as I clamber up to the monkey bars. “The moles will be grateful for your forebearance.” I scrabble over the top, hop down and run.

As my legs warm up, my lungs begin to burn, reminding me of the price to be paid for straying from the path. I smile. A mistake. Apparently my interior warrior thinks I am not taking this seriously enough and puts in a call to the Yoga Gods with their irritating knitting needle. As I make the final turn toward home, the last half kilometre, a stitch seizes my abdomen, jabbing me sharply with every step, reminding me of my ill-fated Race Day. I realize, abruptly, that I’ve paid no attention to my breathing whatsoever. I maintain my pace and focus, pushing my gut out on the in-breath and drawing it back slowly on the exhale. In. Out. It’s not hard. In. Out. Purposeful. Little by little, the stitch releases. A small victory. I am pranayama  breathing, just as we do in yoga class. I smile again, and this time, no one punches me in the ribs.

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