finding stability and grounding in all the ways
to move freely, one must be deeply rooted. ~unknown
So NOBODY had more fun than Wendy and I the past two days!
This weekend closes out my second week of Long Haul 100 training and the long run mileage is still pretty low. I needed 14 on Saturday and 6 on Sunday, but since Saturday was OKC Yogafest, I had to run the 14 on Friday (or get up at 3am Saturday, but since I’m staff AND one of the teachers and presenters at Yogafest, sleep was more of a priority). Anyway, Wendy, being the trooper that she is, agreed to spend her “off” Friday running Bluff with me that morning. The best part? It was her first real trail run! Actually, this is the best part: it started raining minutes after we hit the dirt. We finished out the first 4ish mile loop with the plan to hop up to the pavement once we got back to our drop bags, but at 50 minutes in the trails were still in good shape and it was so beautiful inside the green, glistening trees. We decided on the same plan for loop number two, and it did get a bit messier, but it was still runnable without doing any damage to the trails. The third lap is where the fun began (well, it was already fun, so elevated, maybe?)! Each forward movement became a full body workout. We had a few unintentional backward movements, too, as we would sometimes slide backward. If you’ve run Bluff, you know that there are very few flat segments, so very soon we were literally on hands and knees climbing the uphills, only to descend the downhills on our bums like kids without sleds on a snow day. Those roots that normally reach up, grab my ankles, and pull me down (or it could be my utter lack of grace… who knows, really?) were transformed into underclings with which we hoisted ourselves to the top. Once we’d reach stable grounds, we’d have to kick trees and scrape the bottoms of our shoes across the trunks to dislodge the extra weight we were carrying in mud. Our hair and clothes were drenched - wringably so - and surprisingly heavy. As we finished the last mile, we were nearly breathless from the laughter and wobbly from exhaustion; and we were filthy, head-to-toe mud monsters. Side note: if you’re ever thinking of paying for an exfoliation treatment at a day spa, save yourself the cash and go run trails in the rain. It’s just as effective and far more fun. We gathered our drop bags and headed to the cars, realizing that neither of us had dry clothes, extra shoes, or even towels to sit on, and the best idea we had was to use the puddles in the parking lot to try to rinse as much mud off as possible before destroying the inside of our cars. Brilliant, right? Fortunately (or unfortunately, if we had any shame), there were a couple of city park workers inside their truck waiting out the weather that noticed us and pointed out a newly installed fountain with which we could clean ourselves. “Now y’all can’t drink it, but it’ll sure wash ya off better than those mud puddles you’re usin’.” To the observant city park employee with the strong Oklahoma accent, thank you from the bottom of our happy hearts. Scratch that… our thanks come all the way from the bottom of our mud covered shoes!
Yesterday was the second year for OKC Yogafest and I was fortunate enough to not only be a featured teacher and presenter, but become an official member of staff. For a handful of us, that meant our day started with set up at 5:30am, but wow was it perfect! The previous day’s rain washed the suffocating humidity away and brought in cooler temperatures (mid 80s in Oklahoma in August is a rare treat!), and the lingering smatter of clouds made the sunrise almost unbearably beautiful. Our venue this year was Coles Garden, a space normally reserved for weddings and events of that ilk. The grounds were perfectly green with, as you might imagine, landscaping that leaves you in awe. The outdoor area was divided into vendor, refreshment, and practice sections, each staffed by some of the most inviting, friendly, and loving yogis you could wander into. We had two indoor practice areas, one in The Hall for Master Classes and one in The Chapel for Lectures and Meditation, and holy yoga mats were they perfect! The Great Lawn, our one outdoor practice space, was walled in by shrubs lending to a private feel, while still allowing the energy of the surrounding festival to seep in, and I was lucky enough to teach there. As someone who will take bare feet over shoes, warm sun over cool clouds, and nature’s backdrop over ornate architecture, I could not have been more in my element. All that, and it was a Yoga for Athletes class to boot! I mean really…. the yoga gods knew what they were doing that day.
Fortunately, the woman (and now good friend) that birthed the idea of OKC Yogafest is truly about the yoga. You know… the thing that makes you feel balanced and grounded and just damn good. She’s so much about the yoga that even though there were only three of us on staff and a handful of volunteers at any given point throughout the day, she was adamant that each of us got to practice at least once and experience at least one of the healing arts (massage, acupuncture, reiki, healing touch, etc.) treatments. I, being the high strung, need-to-simmer individual I am, opted for a 75 minute restorative class from my beautiful friend Cindy Espinoza and a healing touch treatment from the lovely Trinity Mays. In the interest of honesty, I had no idea what a healing touch treatment was, despite the fact that one of my favorite people in the world does this. Since I’m sitting face down in a massage chair, I couldn’t see what was happening, but without her hands ever touching me, I could feel it. It should be noted that while I believe in karma and fate and the power of positive thinking, I’m also a skeptic and take a bit to wrap my mind around ideas such as healing energies and chakra balancing. Bad yogi, I know! All this to say, there was something. I don’t know what, but I know it wasn’t nothing.
As evening arrived and the tents started coming down, it was time to prepare for the grand finale: the Slow Summer Flow co-taught by Catie Coon and Tiffany Porte with live DJing by DJ Krama. We were shrub to shrub on The Great Lawn in a sweaty, exhilarated fog while two of the greatest teachers in Oklahoma guided us into savasana just as the last bit of sunlight disappeared from the horizon. It was poetic, really… A perfect Oklahoma sunset and a perfect practice coming to a close simultaneously.