I never thought I’d say this, but in three days I will be competing in my first triathlon. Well, “competing” is a stretch. And I guess “triathlon” kinda is too. Because unlike the daunting swim/cycle/run feat, I’m taking part in a much more soulful challenge: a Mindful Triathlon.
That’s right, I’m gearing up for my first ever Wanderlust 108 experience, which is comprised of a 5k run, a 90-minute yoga practice, and a 30-minute guided meditation. I don’t know if you guys have ever heard of Wanderlust, but it’s this fabulous organization that travels the world, spreading namaste’s and self-love through physical activity. And ironically enough, contrary to the definition of Wanderlust, we don’t have to travel to experience their worldly event: it’s landing right in our very own Romare Bearden Park!
Next Saturday, I will be setting my alarm clock bright ‘n early for an Adidas-sponsored 5k run that will venture throughout uptown Charlotte. It will be led by the insta-famous @sugarysixpack, a hometown fitness guru who I’ve been dying to meet! Technically this run is called a “5k your way” because we have the freedom to hop, skip, and even cartwheel to the finish line. But true to fashion, I will probably wipe myself out in hopes of setting a new PR, being crowned Wanderlust Champion, and impressing Niki, ofcourse.
So thank goodness the next round of fun will be a 90-minute yoga sesh led by the talented and incredibly motivating Chelsey Korus (who also happens to be another major girl crush of mine… 😍 ) But I’m not saying this second event will be an excuse to catnap after the race. Because word on the street is that with the background rhythms of DJ Taz Rashid playing, the crowds have been known to break out in dance party or two. And obviously I’m going to have to show off my notorious Bhangra dance moves for that.
After totally exhausting myself with those two heart-pumping activities, I will now have the chance to wind down with a 30-minute om-break. We’re talking mindful breathing techniques, spiritual pep talks, and maybe, just maybe, a little snooze!? (Just kidding, I promise I won’t snore.) But only because this meditation is led by the world-renowned Buddhist teacher, Noah Levine, who truly knows his stuff.
Then FINALLY it will be time to GRUB. I would totally be lying to you if I told you the reason I’m attending this festival has nothing to do with the divine Wanderbowls. Because let me just paint the picture for you: brown rice topped with black beans slowed cooked with onions and garlic, topped with a special sauce filled with spices, then layered with white cheddar cheese, covered with mango lime cilantro salsa, finished with a dollop of sour cream and avocado. Yeah. Drooling yet?
Also during this lunch break, if you’re not totally wiped from a jam-packed morning, you can sign up for an additional class, such as aerial yoga, acro-yoga, hooping, walking meditation, photography, essential oils workshops, or EVEN MORE yoga. (I’m telling ya, this event will be a yogi’s paradise.)
The Kula Marketplace will feature artisanal vendors selling one-of-a-kind clothing, jewelry, and other handcrafted items.
The Conservatory is the hub that will be selling all of the colorful Wanderlust+Adidas apparel you’ve seen parading around on the ‘gram. It also houses a yummy juice bar.
Now if I haven’t sold you on this event yet, here comes the gamechanger. I recently discovered that we’re going to be downward dogging for something greater: for every ticket sold, Wanderlust will donate $1.08 to the No Kid Hungry organization. With all of those proceeds adding up, your contribution can help provide a child facing hunger with 10 meals. Now that makes for an incredible way to spend your Saturday: nurturing your self-love, while sharing some love with those who need it most.
It’s not too late to take part in what I think is going to be the fitness event of the year! Tickets are still available online, and the weather channel is predicting Saturday’s forecast to be heavenly. So lace up your sneakers, dust off your yoga mat, and let’s plan to enjoy our first Mindful Triathlon together. 😉
Photos by Stephen Mills for Wanderlust Festival 2016.