Last weekend I got to experience “the worlds gentlest triathlon.” Instead of a thrashing swim, competitive bike and adrenaline pumping run, Asia and I started our Saturday with an untimed group 3.1 mile run, over an hour of yoga and 30 minutes of meditation. The backdrop for this peaceful morning was the beautiful San Diego harbor – the gloom in the photo above turned to sunshine by the time the yoga started and it was a beautiful day!
I had no expectations going into this event. It definitely did not feel like a race – in fact I think there were way more yogis in participation than avid runners, and the vibe of the entire event followed suit. There wasn’t any competitive glances or sleek looking runnings doing warm-up sprints before the race – it was all about enjoying the moment and experiencing a morning of self love.
In lieu of the typical race shirt, we were given adorable adorable headbands/scarves to wear. There was no expo but race morning check in was a breeze. Don’t be fooled by the long line when you arrive – thanks to the fact that the race isn’t chip timed, there’s no frantic searching for bib numbers. You simply bring a printed or electronic copy of your race confirmation and after a quick scan, you’ll be handed a sticker bib and a scarf and sent on your merry way. There was a bag check available for yoga mats and bags before the 5k which as also convenient (although after the race there wasn’t a lot organization around getting the bags back to people so the line was very slow and I believe this caused the yoga to start late- one of my only complaints mostly because there also wasn’t any post-5k food and this preggo literally almost fainted).
The 5k started with a group stretch and then we were sent off in waves. No one was really racing or even really running very fast. We ran a very easy pace and weren’t being passed nearly as much as I would have imagined. The race course ran along the embarcadero and past Sea Port Village and back and finished under the Wanderlust sign pictured above. There was not clock at the finish line but lots of high fives!
We made the mistake of being distracted by body art and we didn’t pick up our mats and bags right away. Soon enough, the line was crazy long and moving verrrry slow. That’d probably be my one logistics complaint about the whole event – but it wasn’t even that bad!
Although a bit delayed due to the mat/bag pick-up situation, the yoga was worth the wait. Yoga mats were sprawled all over the rolling green hills of the Embarcadero. MC Yogi got on the mic and pumped everyone up, prompting everyone to make their way to the front of the stage for a little dance party before the zen began. He did a pretty incredible job of getting everyone excited and ready to party. And then the yoga began. We all made our way to our mats for about 45 minutes (not sure on actual time) of yoga led by the MC himself. He incorporated some unique moves into the practice – such as having us all snap our fingers in unison or wave our hands from side to side while holding poses. The vibe was mellow and friendly.
MC Yogi was followed directly by local San Diego yoga instructor Amy Opielowski who led us through a fast-paced 45 minutes of yoga, starting with flow and wrapping up with restorative stretches. I personally didn’t love Amy’s teaching style – she moved quickly through complicated poses and used a lot of technical terms (and we couldn’t see her since there were so many so we had to go just based on what we heard). I could consider myself an intermediate yogi and I was confused at times. If you were new to yoga, you’d probably just be completely lost. A few girls behind us started snickering and then stopped doing the poses all together until they got up and left after halfway through, which I thought was kind of the opposite of the vibe of the event. I can’t say I wasn’t happy to see them go – they were interrupting my zen!
The final savasana led straight into the meditation program which was led by Keith Mitchell a former professional linebacker for the NFL. I haven’t been to many live meditation events but I was surprised by the amount of talking and music that was involved in the meditation portion. I personally wasn’t able to really settle in and get into it (especially since I had to leave halfway to use the restroom) but it was still nice to lay on the mat with the sunshine and cool-wind on my skin.
After the official scheduled programming ended, there was an open festival with samples, vendors and other booths. We stopped by a few booths on our way out but didn’t stay too long. It was already nearly noon and we were starving for a meal (there were some food trucks there but not many) so we headed home after doing some ogling of the acro-yogis practicing their art.
My overall impression of Wanderlust – great! I really enjoyed the event and would definitely recommend it to others. I’ll be back!
Have you participated in a yoga event like this before? Does it sound like something you’d be interested in?