My Yoga Pants Went To Yoga

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Yoga pants are an essential part of a marathon runners’ wardrobe. Once you complete running 26.2 miles, yoga pants are pretty much the only things you can wear for the first 2-3 days while you recover from putting your body through the equivalent of natural childbirth. Your legs kind of flop around like a fish on land, and yoga pants are very forgiving with the first few days post-race.

I have two pairs of yoga pants. They have never been to yoga.

Until today.

I have been to yoga many times, but I do not usually wear yoga pants to yoga, I usually wear shorts. Since it is a little ridiculous to pay $45 per one-hour class to take yoga in the city in which I work, I decided to do a yoga class in the city in which I live. It was a much cheaper rate. Actually, I am on a free trial.

Thank goodness it was free. It was the first, last, and only time my yoga pants have ever been to yoga.

When I entered the facility, the instructor seemed exasperated that I came with only a mat – no blocks, no leash, none of the other yoga props – just a mat. Hey, at least I came with a yoga mat. I’m not new to the scene here, but I’m also not a hard-core yogi. I do what I can, and when I can’t, I just relax.

Her exasperation over my lack of accessories only served to strike fear into both my head and my heart. In my experience, yoga classes that require props translate into situations in which I am either going to get physically hurt or poses into which I either cannot get into, or once into, cannot get out of. Yoga classes with props give totally new meaning to the phrase, “I’ve fallen and I can’t get up.” I typically do better with classes that do not require props, and when I can’t do the pose, I just lay there peacefully. This woman was like some sadistic combo of drill sergeant and dominatrix. I can’t tell you how frustrated she was at my lack of a leash.

For the record, the only leashes I want to deal with are those attached to my surfboard, or, if I had a dog, the one we use on walks. I digress.

I attend yoga mostly for relaxation, and also for some light stretching. I tore the patella tendon in my knee a few years ago, and every once in awhile, it gives me pain. I know better than to do anything overly pretzel-like. I have also had multiple head injuries, with at least 5 documented concussions, so I know I am a fall hazard if they are trying to get me to balance in some type of ballerina position. This class was obviously going to be much too rigorous for me.

I rolled up my mat and started to leave once I realized that this was not going to be the peaceful and relaxing yoga class I had envisioned. That seemed to only perplex the instructor further. She just could not understand why someone would need or want to leave her yoga class. To her credit, she did suggest that the senior citizen chair yoga class may be more my speed. I smiled and nodded politely. I have indeed taken the chair yoga class with the senior citizens years ago after my most recent head injury. I have actually successfully graduated from that class and done several gentle or slow flow yoga classes with no problem in the city in which I work. I didn’t tell her that, though. I’m just thankful for the free trial. At least I did not have to pay $45 to learn that lesson.

This year is the first year in well over 30 years that I am not in school. September has been a very hard month for me. I’m sad, I’m frustrated, and quite honestly, I have absolutely no idea what to do with myself.

My two biggest coping skills have always been running and school. I have always played the two off from one another. When school was not going well, I ran. When I had an injury that I had to rest from running, I focused more on school. Now that I am retired, I don’t have school anymore. All I have is running.

I love running, but I know that I will not be able to do it forever and I need to have a second coping skill for those times when I cannot run. I have been trying different activities. I am trying to get myself onto some sort of schedule. I like having more time to do things since I have slowed my life down, but now I don’t know what to do. I miss the structure that came with the semester and having to go to class and do schoolwork. I need to replace it somehow.

I am not sure how this is all going to shake out, but I do know that I am not going to be a yogi. I have some more activities I plan on trying to see if they fill the void I have in my life by not being in school. You never know what is going to work until you try.

For today, my yoga pants went to yoga. It was so overrated. I think they should be called marathon pants instead. I’ll have to write Victoria’s Secret to tell them I am renaming their pants. These yoga pants aren’t going to yoga again.

 

Back in the Saddle

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Look who is off the injury list with a 2-mile trail run! It was a balmy 39 degrees as I laced up my second pair of Mizuno Wave Rider limited edition model 15s today. I was very fortunate that in my first run back after my last marathon in which I tore muscles in my right hip that I was able to run comfortably without pain today.

I was very fortunate in this injury in that I received stellar medical care and was able to have the luxury of listening to my body completely in regards to what it needed to heal. My massage therapist introduced me to Thai massage to help with this injury, and I highly recommend Thai massage not only for injuries but also for routine maintenance. While I have traditionally received Swedish massage, now that I have experienced Thai, I do not want anything else. Apparently, if you go to the hospital with an illness or injury in Thailand, hospitals provide this type of massage as medical care. After having 4 sessions to aid in the recovery of a torn muscle, I completely understand why this is medical care.

Now that I am off the injury list, I am officially in the off-season. Off-season is the time for cross training and for building strength for the upcoming 2016 running season. I have spent my time on the injury list fully evaluating my injury from all angles, and have determined the best ways to prepare for the next running season. I have figured out which muscle groups need to be worked and how in order to avoid a repeat of the injury I received this year.

Runners are not made on race day. Runners are made in the days and months of training preceding the race. While I am not currently actively training for the 2016 running season, I am working on cross training and strength that will provide the base I need in order to train in 2016. While I am running this winter, my mileage does not often go more than 5 or 6 miles in the off-season. My running is supplemented with swimming, strength training, plyometrics, and various stretching, lengthening and flexibility routines.

While I was ecstatic to be back running in my Mizunos today, I know I have a long road ahead to be sure that I can build a better base for 2016 that will be impervious to the injury that plagued me in 2015. The off-season is not the time to be soft. The off-season is the time to work all muscle groups that do not always get worked once the high mileage of full marathon training kicks into gear. I anticipate that I will not need to start training for my 2016 race until about June or so. I have about 6 months to work my muscles to make sure they are injury-proof for the next race.

The best part of the off-season is the flexibility and creativity that is involved in this portion of the training process. Think of Rocky in Philly chasing chickens or pounding cattle ribs. This is the time of year when training does not have to be orthodox, as long as muscle groups are being worked and prepped to be able to handle the intensity of marathon training that is yet to come.

So, I am back in the saddle again. It may only be 2 miles, but I have a lot of work ahead of me. While I am technically off the injury list, the injury is never far from my mind, as I now must work to be sure that it does not happen again. It’s good to be back.