Sunday, March 22, 2009

Yoga Project launched!!!! and Volunteering is a good thing

I've got a lot to cover since I haven't blogged in a while. The Yoga Project has officially been launched! I am two weeks into yoga at Pure Prana in Alexandria. I have really enjoyed the fundamentals class so far. I've already learned a ton about breathing, stretching, and relaxing. I'm sure I'll get better as I go each week, if I can remember what the instructor has taught me about pushing myself to just before it gets uncomfortable instead of pushing to the max. So far, so good. Even in a beginner class, I was very nervous on my first night that I would be overmatched. That didn't happen, the only time I felt lost was on shoulder stand pose. That will take a bit, the instructor helped me a bit this past Thursday but my back is still too tight to pull that off. It will come with practice, as a friend of mine said there's years of damage to be undone, which is very true. I'm going at least once a week now, and this week is week one of a new rotation, so now that I know I like going, I'll start somewhat anew.

Not only am I a limited talent but dedicated yoga student, I am also a great volunteer. Not a Tennessee Volunteer mind you, but I decided I needed to give back to the running community. So I signed up to volunteer at the National Marathon this past weekend. Friday night I was working a t shirt table, handing out shirts to participants. Other than running out of small shirts (oh how I sometimes wish I could fit into one!) it went well. The people and nearly all the participants were fantastic, handing out shirts once in a while is the least I can do for a community that has given so much to me.

That's not to say I wasn't tired when I left and a little apprehensive about waking up at 4:15 am for a volunteer shift that started at 6 am. But I made the 5:27 am Metro train in plenty of time, got to my shift location at 6. Let me tell you, I'm not sure if Team in Training could not have done more to make me feel welcome and valued (I signed up online on my own a couple months ago and was matched with them). Just a fantastic experience, even if I almost crashed into fellow volunteers twice while handing out Powerade at Mile 3! Mile 3 was very hectic as we had both marathoners and half marathoners passing by. As was the hour before the race started; mixing Powerade, pouring tons of water, moving tables around twice. But everyone was so welcoming and hard working that the time flew by.

I have an entirely new appreciation for event volunteers and the work that they do while we are running all over the place. The effort that goes into putting up something as seen as simple as putting up a few tables and placing cups of water on them, it's a lot, lot more than you realize. Breaking down tables, helping street sweepers, it's a lot of work. I am very very glad I did this, and will do it some more this year. I also pledge to be even more gracious to volunteers that I already was in the future. Giving back gives rewards in more ways than one.

I know I didn't save the planet, or even anyone. But everyone can give back to his or her community in many ways. I'm sure I was able to help someone's run a bit because they were a bit more hydrated after taking a cup of Powerade from me. Running is a great fitness and health tool. It felt really good to know I helped people works towards a great physical challenge. And had fun and met some fantastic people as well.

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