Friday, April 02, 2010

Runner Girl - Yoga Girl Team-Up

It all started with a dare.

My friend Daina is a yoga instructor. She posted a Facebook status update enthusing about how she helped someone in one of her classes get into a downward facing dog. I loved her excitement about it, but said that no way could I do it – my body does not bend.

Daina confidently said that with her help and some hard work, I could do it… but that she could never run like I do. I responded that with my help and some hard work, she could run a 5K.

“All right,” Daina said. “You’re on.”

And with that, the Runner Girl – Yoga Girl Team-up was born.

Last night, Daina took the first step and went running with me. She lives about a mile away from me, so I ran over to her house to pick her up. Daina, dressed in shorts and a skull t-shirt, looked absolutely adorable… and nervous. The last time she’d done any running at all was in high school, when they forced us to run a mile for time – and she hated it. I said that she probably hated it because she tried to go too fast. Since we were just starting out, we didn’t need to go fast; we just needed to go. We’d run relaxed and easy, and if she needed to take a walk break, we would.

And with that, we were off! The two of us ran through her neighborhood, enjoying a beautiful night and talking about our kids. My Garmin chirped, and I gave her the good news: “Guess what, Daina? You just ran a mile.”

She could not believe it. “I did? That didn’t feel like a mile!” I assured her that it was, and that she was doing great. With a big smile on her face, she ran with me another ½ mile, back to her house. I showed her how far we’d run (1.58 miles) and how fast (19:11). She was absolutely thrilled and gave me a big hug before I took off back to my house. We made plans to get together again soon for another run.

I don’t think my feet touched the ground the whole way home. I was incredibly happy for my friend and loved seeing how proud she was – and rightly so – of her accomplishment. It was the best 1.58 miles I’ve run in a long time.

Very few people have the guts to go outside of their comfort zone and attempt something that’s really challenging. Last night, Daina did just that. Her strength and confidence inspired me and will be in my head the next time I’m struggling with a workout or race.

I’m looking forward to our next run together – and to her pushing me out of my comfort zone to do some yoga.

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