Defining ‘Community’

Community. I love to define things here on my blog. Not that putting a definition on something really creates it for you, but sometimes it helps convey some sort of message by means of words that I didn’t write—the real meaning of the world, and then I’ll throw a curve ball with my own twist on the it.

 

Community:

noun, often attributive

: a group of people who live in the same area (such as a city, town, or neighborhood)

: a group of people who have the same interests, religion, race, etc.

: a group of nations

 

I like the middle definition the best. I mean, a community of people have the same interest generally flock together in the same area to form a community, right? WRONG. Not in this day and age with the internet, blog-o-sphere, skype, email, facebook, texting, facetime…what other techy communication words can I throw around? Twitter, life 360, uhmmmm… I’m running out, MySpace? Is that still a thing? I probably still have one floating around somewhere online.

 

Anyway.

 

Community. I’ve always ended up finding myself in the physical fitness community. Both literally and interwebbidly (that is a word now.) I’ve tweeted about my training, I blogged about my races, my classes, my goals, etc… facebook has been a huge motivator and encourager and keeper of commitmenter. (Feel free to start using my new vocabulary any day now.) It’s all helping to morph into another form of community. One on one interaction of awesome people helping awesome people via…you guessed it…the internet.

            My amazing friend, Ashley, is a kick ass trainer over at Comfy Fitness in Chicago. She and I skype and text most days about workouts, she’s setting me up and kicking my ass virtually three times a week. I still need to have the motivation to get my ass to the gym and do the routine, but she supports me and encourages me even when I’m super sore and tired. I love having this support.

            My friend who lives in Miami is training for her first 5k (!!!!!) I love getting facebook messages from her telling me that she completed her first ever 2.5 mile run, she asks me questions, she tells me that my voice was in her head when she wanted to stop but I wouldn’t let her. My friend in Michigan is also beginning his running venture—totally new for him and he’s having triumph after triumph and tells me about it. I love hearing from and supporting these friends! Then I tell him my struggles with yoga and meditation and he reels me back into reality with wise advice, amazing quotes and things to read.

            The yoga community at Power Yoga Morgantown is amazing. This studio has had me commit to 30 days of yoga, I’m on day 16 and cannot wait to get to class tonight! I truly feel myself growing daily with my practice. #yogachallange (check it out on instagram, every time I get a ❤ from one of these amazing yogis it makes my day). I’ve also started building a yoga community at work. Getting people involved, girls who have never done it before trying it! Opening peoples eyes up to the power of yoga, exercise, stretching, bending and pushing themselves is amazing. Having the support while I push myself into uncomfortable places is amazing.

 

I guess my point of this blog post is to say that community, whether you’re involved via the internet or real live life—both are a wonderful thing to have. Cherish them, help them grow, let them flourish and bloom. You never know who you’ll meet and what connections you’ll make.

Seeking Shelter

I’ve been craving quiet lately. We live in such a media driven world where cell phones are ringing, text messages are coming through, snap chat, facebook updates, twitter posts…on top of that I live with boys. Well, father and son actually—son with a bum knee and a knack for falling asleep on the couch with the TV on or a video game controller still kissing his fingertips, I felt bad at first clanking around in the kitchen at 630am, but quickly remember he has his choice of three bedrooms upstairs to sleep in. Grind on, coffee maker, grind on.

            The television is generally turned on right away. Fraiser, Will & Grace, or some other sit-com is what blares at my brain by 8 o’clock. Not Matt Lauer, Al Roker or one of the other friendly faces on the Today Show—it’s laugh tracks and corner gay jokes are laughed at right on cue while I sip my coffee. Which is fine, I have a bedroom that I can seek refuge in, and I often do, grabbing my novel and hiding away under the covers with candle lit to cover up the stench of my work out clothes.

            By the time I head to the Tavern I work at, hungry families are lining up to order lemonades and afternoon beers. Families. That means children. Whenever a couple brings their child into the bar I find myself quoting Reese Witherspoon in Sweet Home Alabama; “You have a baby…in a bar” [cue face drop] I was ready to join my co-workers for a smoke break after my 20 top that consisted of more children than adults…the tavern was taken over my ankle biting, high pitched screaming, sticky fingered children. I told my manager that that was the best birth control, ever.

 

My answer for some quiet this week? The pool. I swam competitively for nearly ten years. Swimming is comfortable, swimming is easy (unless I have a tough workout planned), swimming is like a big, quiet hug. I’ve been training for a triathlon, and eventually will be swimming the first leg of a half Iron Man this fall. Needless to say, I’ve been in the pool quite a bit lately. But today, today I appreciated the pool for more than it’s caloric burn, it’s ability to stretch my body and build my muscles—it was quiet.

            No. Wait. The deck wasn’t quiet at all. The lifeguards had music playing, there were children (though the pool is an appropriate place for those munchkins,) there were other swimmers swimming laps. I jumped in. In that moment being surrounded by bubbles, I recognized the silence under water. I had known how loud my life was outside, but I hadn’t realized how quiet it could be.

I seeked shelter there for an hour. Not enough, but enough for the moment. Just noticing this quiet refreshed me. As I put my ear buds in for my run home I played soft, soothing tunes that were enough to ease me back into reality.

 

Rock jumping in Ohiopyle, PA

Rock jumping in Ohiopyle, PA

 

           

Sloan Long Run Technique

The day started out with my friend bailing on our long run. Proceeded into me having to get inspiration and motivation from my Twitter friends (because lord knows I wasn’t going to get it on my own.) and continued to me tearing my room apart looking for, wait for it, my Pearl Izumi arm warmers. It was finally that weird temperature that didn’t require a long sleeve, or a jacket, and was too cold for just a t-shirt. These are the days we’re given for arm warmers, however few and far between, we cherish them.

As you can see, I tore my room apart and eventually gave up and took an old pair of wool socks and cut out the toes. PERFECT!

I set out to climb to Four Corners and return. Long, up hill, and mentally taxing for me. As I was running, (if you can call my slow trot up running) it was nice to be alone. I knew that the run was going to be harder mentally for me, just to keep pushing myself instead of go home and crawl on the couch with my new favorite book. (I did get my motivation to run from people across the country I have never met! Thank you Twitter!)

As I reached the part in the path where it splits I had already been contemplating turning around at the next “check point”. If I had turned around there I would be cutting probably 45 minutes off of my run and I know I would be mad at myself when I got home. But still, I wanted to turn around. So instead of going right, (right would take me to the trail that continues up to four corners) I went left. I had no idea where left took me. I was pulling a classic Sloan Long Run Technique.

 

Sloan Long Run Technique: to set out for a set amount of miles, time, destination and proceed to get lost. The outcome usually being more miles, time and more bliss.

 

The trail I ended up following was the Queen of Hearts trail. I took Alice and Wonderland and White Rabbit to get there, (how fitting.) This QH trail led me along a single-track ridge covered in snow, up another switch back and to an opening that forced me to udder (shield your eyes Grandma) fuck yes. This view was spectacular. I looked around me to see if anyone else was as amazed as I was, I was alone. Fuck yes. Alone, up high on the mountain, I could see how far I’d come from town and how far I had to go.

The way down was like a roller coaster for my feet. I just let loose and ran. I really had no idea where in the trail system I was but someone once told me just run down and you’ll eventually make it back to town. So that’s what I did. Down down down the rabbit hole I ran and was spit out on Park Street where I found my bearings and ran straight to the running store to tell someone about my amazing run.

My co-worker, Timothy, was stoked for me and my run. He knew exactly where I had gone and we talked about how incredible that feeling is when you reach the top of QH.

This was a run that made me love running again. Thank goodness for my innate (and inherited) ability to get lost.