Seven miles seemed very daunting this Saturday morning; but the Saturday Seven, that is my norm. I run seven miles every Saturday (unless it is a yoga teacher training weekend, then I run the Friday Five instead and try to make up mileage other times throughout the week). Partially because I had a tummy ache on Thursday night, that hung on through Friday morning, I was wary to go too far or too fast. After the first mile, I realized, I could either run 7 miles today and I was already up and moving, or do 4 today and 3 tomorrow. Sleeping in tomorrow sounded like a better option, but I was still having trouble committing to the long haul. At about the two mile mark, I was looking for a sign to call it quits or keep plugging along at a gentler pace when I rounded the corner and he came into sight.
I immediately dubbed him Slender Santa. A tall white haired gentleman, dressed all in red from his long sleeved red t-shirt to his tiny crimson jogging shorts, was setting a steady pace for 10 minute miles. I kept about 20 yards between us and hitched my sleigh to Santa’s steady snow plowing. (Just to be clear, it was 65 degrees out this morning, all references to snow are metaphorical in nature). The stretch of my route I was least looking forward to (about ¾ of a mile up an imposing incline) lay ahead, but luckily Santa was cruising in the same direction. I crossed the street, so I wouldn’t seem creepy following him so closely and just kept the red blur of his outfit in sight out of the corner of my eye. Before I knew it, I was at the top of the hill, resting at one of my favorite drinking fountains. When I looked up to find my unaware running partner, he was gone, vanished, as if up the chimney with his finger laid along side his nose he rose.
Grateful that Santa had gotten me through the roughest bit of my run, I felt confident to tackle the downhill. I came across some other interesting characters but none of them were the rosy beacon that Slender Santa had been. A saintly strider came my way, rubbing the beads of her rosary thoughtfully as she passed. Then a fellow on a bike, who I instantly named Inspector Gadget for his fancy gear and helmet complete with a GoPro camera brought to mind this cartoon character from the 80s. This inspector however, was not in search of clues but rather was out for a good time with his Cumbia music pulsing loud from one of his many contraptions, he pumped his fist in the air to the beat of the song as he pedaled uphill. I wanted to ask him if I could borrow some of his energy for after my run. Still 3 miles to go and I had a yoga teaching gig scheduled a little later in the morning.
So I did manage to finish my run, with the help of many distractions this morning. Many thanks to the other interesting exercise enthusiasts who keep my imagination busy and also to the wildlife that surrounds. The birds, the bunnies, the horses and other farm yard friends also make for good diversions from the stomach cramps, lethargy, and various other physical challenges that sometimes accompany my love of running. Today this beautiful elderberry tree in bloom offered perfumed air and a beautiful visual treat to keep my mind on the pleasant side of things.
I taught my first kids yoga class in a studio today. My bag of tricks in tow, I had planned a springtime themed class where we did poses that reminded us of spring; butterfly, flower, tree, rainbow and of course sun salutations. 5 students between the ages of 4 and 8 came to class today. We played a game of tic tax yoga to review our poses, made an obstacle course of dexterity exercises where we balanced empty strawberry baskets on our bellies and crab walked, moved bunny tails (cotton balls) with our breath and lined them up using only our toes, and a lily pad jump where we hopped over blocks. When the kiddos were somewhat tired out, we made gratitude eggs, somewhat like fortune cookies, we wrote a message of gratitude for them to give to their parents after class and they placed them in a plastic egg. Class ended when the adults came to our studio for a shared savasana.
Unlike teaching in a conventional classroom, very little time needed to be spent on classroom management. This experience much more resembled guided play. One would think that as an elementary teacher I often get to play with kids, but in all honesty that opportunity rarely if ever comes up. This was a unique opportunity to enjoy kids discovering, moving, and playing. I had a good time and it seemed that they did, as well.
Let’s see running, teaching yoga, followed by lunch and some yard work…that’s really just four activities for Saturday. Perhaps I should have seven to match the seven miles that started my morning. I think the 5th will need to be an afternoon nap, if I am ever going to make it to see what 6 and 7 might be!