This "Mindful Triathlon" Is What Every City Girl Needs To Find Peace & Balance

by Julia Guerra

When you think of the term “triathlon,” what comes to mind? Up until recently, it was pretty standard to associate the word with a long, winding trail comprised of a track to run on, obstacles to conquer, and dirt splattered all over your body. But, similar to how marathons are marketing themselves a little differently these days in order to attract all kinds of participants, from foodies to wine and cheese connoisseurs, triathlons are trying to expand their audience, too. For example, according to a press release sent to Elite Daily, Wanderlust 108 is "the world's only mindful triathlon," so instead of hurdles to jump over and bikes to ride, you can choose to run or walk a 5K, depending on your individual preference, practice yoga outdoors, and meditate to find your center in a sea of like-minded wellness gurus. Plus, the events serve coffee and yummy, good-for-the-soul foods, so your mind, body, soul, and stomach should feel pretty amazing by the end of this wanderful event (see what I did there?).

IMO, it’s thrilling to see old-school endurance competitions acknowledging the fact that there’s so much more to wellness than just the physical body, especially in cities, where life is pretty much constantly lived in the fast lane, and the hustle-and-bustle of it all can have your head spinning by lunchtime. What's more, when it comes to wellness, there’s such a heavy focus on working out a certain amount of hours per week, and eating according to this diet or that celebrity-endorsed program to meet ridiculous standards, and while you should be taking care of your body, and there’s nothing wrong with being part of the #FitFam if that’s something you genuinely enjoy, your mental well-being shouldn’t be neglected in the process. That’s where Wanderlust 108 comes in, encouraging both athletes and non-athletes alike to shift their attention to their mental health.

According to the event’s official website, Wanderlust 108 kicks off on Sunday, Sept. 9 in Brooklyn, New York, and will travel onward from there, hitting major cities like Toronto, Cincinnati, Austin, Detroit, and more throughout the year, and extending into the summer of 2019. When you arrive at the event, you’ll sign in, exchange your stuff for some awesome Wanderlust swag, and then you're encouraged to enjoy a cup of coffee before the day's activities begin. You’ll join the group for a pre-workout stretch session at the main stage, and then it’ll be time to hit the pavement to complete a 5K led by an adidas x Wanderlust coach.

Photo by Jorge Quinteros for Wanderlust Festival

BTW, if running isn’t exactly your thing, don't even sweat it. The event’s description explicitly says the 5K is meant to be done your way. In other words, be mindful of your body and what it’s feeling in that moment. If you’re up for a rigorous run, go for it. If not, mindfully jogging or walking, and just taking in the scenery and the group of people you’re a part of, is encouraged, too.

After you’ve completed part one of three in this wellness triathlon, next up on your agenda is to partake in an outdoor yoga practice. No need to bring a mat — the prop is already included in your package. And what’s better than flowing with friends both old and new? Doing it to the sounds of a live DJ. This will also come in handy if you aren’t comfortable maneuvering your body a certain way; skip the poses and dance it out if that's what you prefer! Once your body is all stretched out, you’ll move on to the event’s 25-minute meditation.

Photo by Diana Gerstacker for Wanderlust Festival

The entire event really does encompass every form of well-being, which, if you ask me, is much more valuable than going home with a medallion around your neck. It really doesn’t matter how you place in the 5K, or if you successfully master a crow pose; as long as your mental health is thriving, that’s a win when it comes to Wanderlust. And the best part about the event is that you don't have to be anywhere near pro-athlete status, or even be part of the yogi culture to join. Novices are more than welcome, because practicing wellness doesn't require a specific skill-set. All that's necessary is genuine curiosity.

Personally, the first time I ran a 5K, I hadn't trained for it. TBH, I didn't even enjoy running at the time; I signed up to spend time with my friends. Needless to say, I didn't finish first — not by a long shot — but participating in something like a 5K can teach you a lot about your body, like the cues it gives when it's close to giving out, and how every part of your anatomy plays a role. Running, even walking, teaches you to be mindful, to stay aware of your surroundings, and to take the time to really revel in the moment. Yoga and meditation provide similar benefits, in that they teach you to hone in on your physical, as well as mental strengths and weaknesses. It's about learning how to build yourself up, and working through those tough times when you feel like you're shutting down.

Photo by Jorge Quinteros for Wanderlust Festival

What's more, if you sign up for the Wan(der)lust Package for $150 (standard tickets cost between about $40 and $60, according to the press release), you'll be added to a VIP list and have access to all kinds of cool activities, like aerial yoga, Thai massages, and flying therapeutics, which is basically a really fascinating bodywork practice that's supposed to help you tap into your inner, childlike spirit by physically moving through different positions. By dabbling in these different practices, you have the advantage of figuring out what sort of things you enjoy and can implement into your daily, weekly, even monthly routine to tend to your mental health outside the triathlon.

Overall, the takeaway from Wanderlust 108 is to learn how rewarding and important it is to work on your emotional self, just as you would your physical body. You have one mind, one body, and both deserve a little TLC, and a large festival to celebrate them equally.