Bend the Round

…where the madness is recorded.

Back in the Saddle April 18, 2008

Filed under: running,yoga — bendtheround @ 3:19 pm
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I came down with a mind-numbing, brain-deadening headcold/chest cold/virus thing last week. At first, I thought I had strep, but the doc insisted that it was a virus. The result was that my running has been side-lined since last Thursday. I’d wake up in the morning when Matt, the dedicated soul he is, got up to go to the gym. I’d fully intend to get up as well, but simply failed. I’d be too tired after a night of fitful sleep and my throat would hurt and I’d just roll over like a lump and stay in bed.

I’ll say this for coming off a running habit – it sucks. When I stop running for a while, I start feeling chubby, which isn’t terribly pleasant. Between that and still being sick, I just haven’t felt all that great this past week.

Well, this morning, I was finally able to peel myself out of bed and hit the gym. I decided to do a nice easy two miler on the treadmill to ease back in (and not aggravate my cold) and it went remarkably well. Covered the readout with my towel and trotted on off, listening to some OK Go. I was surprised a while later when I checked my progress that I’d already gone a mile and I was scooting along at close to a 10 minute mile pace. Super cool.

I finished that two miler in 20:49. I was pretty darn happy with that for my first run after being sidelined by virus and general wussiness.

So, after running, I ambled on over to one of the multi-purpose rooms to get my yoga on. I finally made it all the way through the class and it was wonderful.

As mentioned in previous posts, I am trying to jump start my yoga practice. I spent some time going through the available yoga podcasts in iTunes and found one that’s got a LOT of promise. I’ve gotta hand it to the people over at YogaDownload.com, they can put together one heck of a yoga class. I’ve listened to a bunch of yoga-classes-via-podcast, and so far, this is hands-down the best one. Each podcast comes with a PDF demonstrating the series of poses, so you’ve got a visual. (I’ve checked out several yoga video podcasts, but as I’ll be practicing in the gym for now, it’s just not practical to have to watch a video.)

I’ve only listened to one class so far, but I was so impressed that I’m comfortable recommending the podcast with two reservations. The first one is the same reservation I have about yoga books and videos – they’re great resources, but I never recommend STARTING yoga without a good teacher. You really need a teacher to help you get the most out of your practice…and how to practice safely. Yoga is by-and-large low-impact, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, you CAN hurt yourself.

The second reservation is that if you aren’t familiar enough with yoga poses, you’re not likely to know what to do fast enough to keep up. The class isn’t too fast-paced, but if you have to reference the PDF, you’re going to get left behind very quickly.

So! Basically, YogaDownload’s podcast is perfect for someone who’s had some moderate to significant yoga experience and is looking for a classroom guide in podcast form. If that’s you, check out YogaDownload – it’s pretty darn neat! The pace was great, challenging, but do-able – I was sweating just as hard as I was during the run toward the end. My only suggestion would be to stack some good cool-down/meditation music after the podcast. There’s about a minute of ambient type music at the end of the class, but I felt the need for some more quiet time at the end.

 

Recuperation Period March 25, 2008

Filed under: running,state of BTR,yoga — bendtheround @ 6:15 pm
Tags: , ,

After a long race, you’re supposed to go through a period of rest. The guideline I was able to find recommended that you rest about one day per mile you raced on the big day. That means that I’m supposed to take it easy at least until March 29th. It’s giving me a chance to rest up and heal. My right knee is healing nicely. It was sore after the reace but it doesn’t bother me much now. My left hip flexor is still bugging me, though. I can’t feel justified in complaining about it, because I haven’t put in the minor effort of stretching properly or regularly.

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to plan my next steps. I’m moving in June, which is a huge stressor for me (there’s something about boxing up my stuff and moving that makes me very anxious). Preparing for the move is going to take up a good bit of my time soon – culling my belongings, cleaning, planning, job hunting, etc – so I’m hesitant to commit myself to another time-consuming round of training. Still, it’s going to be important that I keep up with my running. The exercise really helps me manage stress for one thing – for another, if I slow up too much I’ll never make either of my running goals for 2008.

There is another half marathon being held on April 20th that would be very accessible. It’s being held about 30-40 minutes from my current home. So… I could go do that race and take another crack at that 2:20 half marathon time. The pros – I’d have another shot at making my half marathon time goal; I’d have to keep up with my long distance training; the race is easy to get to. The cons – the long-distance training IS time-consuming, and I’d rather not put too big a strain on my time before a big move; the time-drain could also wind up causing more stress than the runs mitigate; I’d have to do another two week recuperation period during which I will likely be sore and cranky (cranky because I’m not getting my usual dose of endorphins from running).

Or I could sign up for a local 5K or 8K instead (for motivation and for the t-shirt!)… or volunteer to help out for the half marathon so that I can be motivated to run like the people I’m watching (yes, that sounds kinda lame, but I *do* finding it inspiring to watch people run these races)… or both.

I’ve also paid some lip service to the idea of starting back up with yoga again. I was pretty into it for a while – I even started up with some coursework to certify as an instructor. I had a falling out with the gym that was encouraging me to get certified and then an old injury to my wrist worsened to the point that I couldn’t do most of my favorite poses, so my practice dried up. Both are poor excuses, especially considering how incredible I’d feel after a good session of yoga practice.

It’ll take some concerted effort to get back into practice. My current residence doesn’t have a good place to practice inside. I can practice on the porch if I make the effort to clear away the porch furniture and if I can stop worrying that people can see me…and if it isn’t freakin’ freezing outside. Until it warms up, I’ll have to count on finding space at the rec center to practice.

I guess, ideally, in the next couple months I should probably try focus on getting back into yoga. I’ll still run, but I’ll do more frequent runs under five miles instead of a bunch of shorter runs and an obscenely long run every week. The yoga I like to practice *does* have some strength training elements in it, but I never got the same sort of results (ie, got noticeably stronger) so I should keep doing the strength training Matt suggested for me, too.

So, I start working out again officially next week. I’ll tinker with possible schedules this week and try some out starting next week.

At this point, I doubt I’ll do another half marathon before the move. BUT – I’m not giving up on my running goals! I’ll keep updating my mileage on the New Year’s Resolution page on this website, and as soon as I pick out the next half marathon, I’ll start updating on how training for that is going. Until I start half marathon training again, I think that I’ll shift my reporting on distance running training to reporting on how I’m doing starting back up my yoga practice. Hopefully, that’ll be at least a little interesting…

 

Book 5: Yoga Anatomy February 5, 2008

Filed under: books,yoga — bendtheround @ 3:16 pm
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Yoga Anatomy

OK, first a little backstory. I got into yoga about four years ago while recovering from some moderately serious health problems. Yoga wasn’t the biggest part of my recovery, but it really did help. I loved it, it felt great, and I thoroughly enjoyed practicing it and the company of other practitioners. I even started taking classes to start teaching. Then I hurt my wrist. The injury really shouldn’t have completely stopped my practice, but it kept me from doing almost all of my favorite poses and I let that keep me off of the mat for a full year. My wrist has finally healed (after a good bit a physical therapy) and I’m ready to hit the mat again. Unfortunately, but unsurprisingly, I’ve lost a good bit in a year. Not just flexibility, but the breathing techniques and ability to relax into poses like I could before. It’s making it very hard for me to get back into yoga.

My brother gave me this book for Christmas this year as a boost back into my practice – it’s pretty darn cool. The book breaks down a series of yoga poses and shows the reader which muscles, joints, organs, etc are most involved in the pose using illustrations like the one on the cover. There are nice little callouts for each illustration pointing out individual muscles and giving their proper anatomical names. Which brings me to my only real complaint…not all the muscles named in the text are pointed out in the illustrations. To get the absolute most out of the book possible, you pretty much have to have a copy of Grey’s Anatomy next to you to help you pick out all the muscles mentioned.

It’s a great book, though. I’m finding it helpful to pinpoint poses to work on for muscles that are particularly tight. I’m not 100% sure that I’d recommend it for true beginners. It might be a little intimidating to see just how turned around your sciatic nerve can get in some of these poses… but I suppose it couldn’t really hurt. It’s great for anyone with a general interest in anatomy.

It’s really mostly a reference book…not really a cover-to-cover read. I’m glad I’ve got it in my collection to reach for when I need it!