Today, while waking up from an accidentally 3 hour long nap, I realized that I am going to be putting running on the back-burner. My back discomfort has shot up in the past week and a half since I’ve been running. It’s clear to me that this is where the pain comes from, at this point in time.

I am not discontent with putting running on the back-burner. It is time for this to happen, and will make time for me to explore other activities. I will exercise, practice yoga, and keep my body fit. As soon as I get a chance I will take up biking and swimming as well. I still intend to break my running record of 5 minutes and 34 seconds, and I will run races against myself to get my time down. The way I will prepare will be by working out the body and not by running.

At some point I may find myself running again, when I feel the desire to find a dirt trail to run on. This would alleviate the pain that comes with running on sidewalks. I will ensure that when I race, I run on dirt or a track. Additionally, I ought to look into actual races to join as I condition myself. I haven’t done one before because they cost anywhere from $30-50 and I didn’t see the point in paying to run, but the payments often go towards good causes and an official race may inspire an officially great performance.

When hiking I will also keep up a good pace, and even jog up and down, to ensure that I am working on my stamina and endurance.

The great benefit of not running is that I will spend less time putting on shoes, going outside, and having to shower just because of getting so sweaty. To strengthen my back I will ensure that I am stretching as often as I can. I’m convinced that if melatonin was able to help with my back-discomfort, then I have the same power to mentally curb that discomfort by stretching and devoting my intention to healing my back.

So let me transition and note my day. I woke up at 10:20 AM today, 10 minutes after I had set an alarm for. My phone’s battery had died while sleeping, so it was amazing that I was able to wake up only 10 minutes later without an alarm, especially considering that I went to sleep at around 3:45 AM or so. The reason I went to bed so late was because my roommate’s friend is into numerology and we ended up talking about that for a while. Then the friend and my roommate and I chatted for a while more.

Before going to bed at 3 in the morning, I got hungry so I ate some oatmeal if memory serves me right with black sour cherry jam on it. Then I ate another bowl of oatmeal and went to bed.

I have been meaning to write my dreams when I wake up, but I haven’t been doing that. I woke up worried at 10:20 AM, thinking I missed an appointment I had with a life coach I had met two weeks ago. Seeing that I was not late, and realizing that I had only slept 6 hours, and the night before I had 3 hours of sleep and I ran 6 miles yesterday, really blew me away. The life coach said that my biological clock seems to be pretty good, and I would have to agree.

I showered after waking up and couldn’t find my wallet before leaving. When I got there, exactly on time, he offered me some yerba mate. It turns out he stopped drinking coffee two years ago and likes tea. So I will write about all of this, since I ended up interviewing him and learning about his life, challenges, skills, and dreams, and I will link to it in the upcoming days when the interviews I am journaling begin to go public.

The life coach is also coming over on Monday to meet my friend and I over chai, which I look forward to. After finishing up chatting with him, I headed home so that I could drive my roommate to work. He didn’t want to add extra miles to his car, since he hasn’t changed the oil. I’m actually 280 miles over my oil change, and I didn’t know that it’s best to get it done at 3,000. I mean, I’ve been told by mechanics after they changed my oil that new oil can go to 5,000 miles. I’m hoping to go no more than 700 miles before I get it changed.

After I dropped off my roommate, 30 seconds early, I went home, ate cereal, and filled out some paperwork for a hiring agency that I was meeting with a member of in an hour. Then I headed out the door, with a sample of chai that I prepared, and drove for about 45-50 minutes. There I interviewed with a person, really just to have some back-pocket information should the job that I got and filled out papers for doesn’t pan out for some reason, or should I look at working with the agency later down the road to change jobs. After finishing at the staffing agency, I headed home which took another 40-45 minutes to get back to.

After getting home I cooked rice, along with some mushrooms, cucumbers, and carrots. I mixed the two together and ate a meal. Then I washed dishes and felt very tired. It was 4:25 PM and I figured I would nap for 20 minutes, and then go run some intervals exactly when the last remainders of the sun would be spilling over. After the first nap I added another 20 minutes to the timer and slept again. Then I added another 20 minutes, and before you know it, I woke up after having slept 3 hours.

Then my friend and I ordered some new bags to place chai into, as well as draw-string bags to steep it in, along with cheese cloth to cover chai trays for larger brewer pots, amongst other items. My friend then went to sleep and I went to meditate for 42 minutes. While meditating I realized that it’s time I let go of reflecting the personalities and desires of others, and I dive deep in the devotion of my True Self. I chanted Hare Krishna for over half of the meditation, and I was surprised at how short it had all felt when the timer alarm went off, indicating that the time was up.

Afterwards I chanted Hare Krishna three times and sent it off as a message to my dear friend, C-lady. Then I followed that up with writing. I forgot to mention yesterday that I began to write a draft of a book that I want to publish before I turn 22. This is the same draft that I continued to write for today. It’s a collection of what I’ve learned in my time here on this planet. So far I’ve written 4,500 words, which comes out to about 15 book pages (since they have 250-300 words per page). I am 11% done with writing the amount of lessons I would like to share. This means that in just 18-19 days I ought to find myself with a first draft.

I’m very excited to see how the book will read once it all comes together. I have to admit that the first draft is easy for me to ready, and I enjoy the style, yet it seems like a lot of work will go into refining the material so that it may be easy for all to understand. I may have written on this topic before, that I don’t mind creating obscure or long-winded work, yet in the case of my book, it’s important that the lessons I’ve learned are easily understandable by others.

My writing of the draft was followed with reviewing C-lady’s 200 Hour Yoga class midterm. I made notes regarding punctuation and content, and did my very best to not edit for style. I feel that my writing capabilities are great, yet my editing is borderline writing. Editing shouldn’t be writing. When editing for others becomes writing, then you’ve more than likely failed.

I was happy to read through the paper, in which an idea of “not competing with one’s self” in yoga stood out to me. I Googled the simple idea to see what else I could find on the matter, and then came across this post.

It wasn’t until a yoga event I attended at the beginning of the year that I truly realized my ego was creating competition within myself and with others. Not only would I challenge myself during yoga and create competition to go further and deeper (and sometimes cause pain), I would compete against others in the studio who were there for their own reasons. I would feel better if I could go deeper into a posture than someone else, but I would feel torn down if others went deeper than I could.

The words that changed this for me are: “Yoga isn’t a competition. It doesn’t matter who’s got the loosest hamstrings because who the f*** got anywhere due to loose f****** hamstrings? No one. It doesn’t matter who can do what in yoga – the only thing that matters is that you show up, you’re present, and you feel it.” -Bryan Kest

Evolution Yoga Atlanta

Reading the quote above stood out to me so much. I don’t feel that I’ve turned yoga into a competition before. One time I joked with a yoga friend that they can’t do a pose harder than the 8-figure pose I can do (probably because they said they can’t do that one). They took me all seriously and told me about certain poses that they showed me, and my friends at a yoga retreat I set up for us, which I couldn’t do. I took my friend as equally seriously on the surface, while really joking underneath, by saying “which poses? Show me to them? I can do them all.” Then my friend responded with a pose where you lay your legs out to your sides, touch your feet, and bend your nose to the ground. They can actually touch their nose to their ground while doing this. I can probably get about a foot and a half above the ground, and that’s where I stagnate. Then I agreed, as if I had been beaten, just as a joke. So there you have it. That’s the one time I’ve turned yoga into a competition before, and it wasn’t even against myself or in too much of a serious context with any serious side-effects.

However, it seems that my running has at times had side-effects on me beyond positive ones. I’m not too worried about it all. I feel that today, and my realizations of putting running on the back-burner, came at the right time. Maybe it’s just because it’s gotten colder. Yesterday it was 73 degrees when I ran. Today it would have been 45 degrees. Who knows? Maybe I’m just making an excuse and I won’t follow up other activities with the rigor that I invested into running at times throughout my life. I’m not too worried about it.

A while ago, when my friend’s step-father needed surgery for his elbow, brought on by weight-lifting, I realized something interesting. Yes, we are limitless and can accomplish anything. Yes, we should always push ourselves. Yet when bodybuilding leads to needing surgery on one’s elbow because of the scar tissue that’s built up, and the bodybuilder will not be able to even lift a 10 pound weight above their head for months after the surgery, one has to wonder… “Is that where I want to end up?”

My friend’s stepfather looked great and was strong. Until he went 5 or 10 pounds more than what his body could handle, for 5 or 10 months, without stretching an extra 5 or 10 minutes, without questioning if he should continue to work out his biceps or find 5 or 10 other activities to use his biceps on (such as kite surfing, climbing, and so forth). So since I realized that it’s possible to harm oneself in working out, as well as knowing that runners pull muscles and things of that nature, I’ve always been keen on not finding my working out to building myself ending up tearing myself down.

I will also begin to sleep on my back, instead of my stomach, in order to ensure that I put less pressure on my lower back. This is something I’ve been trying for a while, but I have a hard time falling asleep on my back. I’ll have to get used to it though, because I don’t want to be sleeping any other way than the proper way for my body.

To be continued…

Also published on Medium.