Tag Archives: yoga

Runnus Interuptus

running yogini

Last summer we did a very ambitious overhaul of our garage and living spaces…re-org and clean out, renovation and remodel.  It was hugely successful and we so enjoy the many fruits of our many labors.  But….

The old bod took a beating in the process.  We had an improbable time-frame to deal with, and big big plans…I was so exhausted physically that running took a back seat.  Everything did, actually, at least for a while.

It took a long time to recover from that and some things–a weird ping in my shoulder, that little curve in my back never came back like it was–were just not right thereafter.

Recently I’ve had the insight to return to yoga…I used to be hard core about yoga until running slowly took precedence, finally beating it out entirely as my preferred activity.  Mistake, that.  I was so stiff after that summer project–and it just never seemed to get much better.

Running and yoga sometimes don’t work  so well together.  Sometimes those muscles you’re stretching like so much warm taffy actually work better when they’re a little less flexible, or little more taut. But I felt like the magic of yoga was likely going to be the only thing to get me back in my body, so I began practicing daily. It felt so good, it hurt like hell.  At the same time I’ve cut down my runs to about 25 minutes–good little runs, some hills, interesting paths–but not too strenuous.

When I get back, I do 25 to 50 minutes of yoga to follow on the run.  It’s working–that’s the big news.  I’m actually starting to feel right in my body again, and am going to continue this approach for a month.  I don’t run every day, usually every other day, but I do do yoga everyday.

It’s good.  Sometimes the same old routine just doesn’t cut it, and you need to reboot, as it were.  I’ll be back to my old running routine by Spring, I think,  but in the meantime, yoga is working its magic.

What’s not to love about this?

What would you give to have a more positive outlook in your day?  Or feel stronger, more confident in your body? How about sleeping better, getting sick less often, having better self-esteem?

Most of us, living in this the-answer-is-out-there-and-probably-comes-in-pill-form society of ours, will think, yeah–what are you selling?

Nada.  Nothing you can’t do yourself. We’ve collectively come to this place where fresh veggies and fruit taste “funny” and processed food tastes normal. Our energy isn’t great, our brains are functioning on less real nutrients, and then we wonder why we don’t feel so good.

Obama is gathering his forces to help make America healthier, and this effort, perhaps more than his other unbelievable number of efforts, has me swooning.  This article on CNN discusses his ideas, and of course finds a way to make the effort controversial (that’s what sells, after all), but the point of Obama’s agenda is this:

A healthy population is a happier, less expensive, stronger, more motivated population.  Period.

Happier: endorphins from exercise help modulate mood, we’re made this way. It’s the way our mechanisms work. Further, even if you don’t go out an run 3 miles, just stretching and walking helps your mood by connecting you with your body.  It’s natural, it’s how our bodies work.  Connection lost: balance lost.

Less expensive: as the article points out, chronic diseases such as adult onset diabetes account for 2 trillion bucks in health care.  That’s Two. Trillion. Bucks. Medical studies have long ago proven that better nutrition based of fresh veggies, fruit, fish, etc combined with moderate exercise can help manage a ton of chronic complaints.  Imagine tossing those pills you’re stuck on–it could happen.

Stronger, more motivated: you know the old saying, if you want something done, ask a busy person.  Once your body is accustomed to moving, whether that means taking the stairs instead of the elevator, doing yoga stretches in your cubicle, going for a walk at lunch instead of sitting around, or even getting up off the sofa to change the channel rather than using the remote, your old bod gets used to it and craves it.  Pretty soon you’re finding ways to keep moving no matter what, and guess what: your body works better that way.  It doesn’t work so very well if you’re always stationary.

Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now, but I just had to say, Mr. Obama, you are a dreamboat.

Running after 50: I feel good (mostly)

I was reading last night about a guy who did a meditative chant to James Brown’s “I feel good” riff during his run.  That seemed to be an excellent mantra for a long run, good rhythm, good rhyme.

Last Saturday I ran 8.25 miles.  I managed to maintain a 10:30 mile all the way thru, which probably means my first miles were a lot better than my later miles–either that or my music selection has a 10:30 mile rhythm built in.  Could be.

I’ve been thinking–in an admittedly self-critical way–that lots of people would consider a 10:30 mile slow as molasses.  I’ve heard that from runners I’ve spoken to, and read it here and there.  One shouldn’t be satisfied with a 10:30 mile.  And yet I am.

Last summer, my best 5K was a 9.30 mile pace and I was pleased with that.  But I recognized that was a 5K.  Since January, I’ve been upping my miles so that a 5K is a quick-run day now, and I’m usually shooting for over 4, and on the weekends, over 6 or 7.  Ultimately, by the end of the month, I hope to be at 10 miles…though I’ll accept 9, and be doggone happy with 9.5.

Throughout this ramp up, my focus has not been speed.  It’s really not even been distance.  It’s been physical well-being.  See, I want to run for a very long time, if I’m lucky.  And the good news/bad news is I’m starting later in life.  Good news: I don’t have previous injuries to plague me.  Bad news: this isn’t exactly the peak physical condition I’ve known at other, younger, times in my life.  And straight-up news: you have to do things differently after 50.  You  just do.

You can’t get by without a stretching regimen.  Well, maybe you can, but you won’t be running for long–just my opinion.  You can’t get by on a cup of coffee and zoom out the door for a swift 8 miles.  And speed just isn’t going to be the top line concern.

So what is the top line concern?  Pure joy.  The satisfaction of giving your body the gift of health and good care.  The tending that pays off on those excellent days when you really feel it’s all coming together (today wasn’t one of those, by the way, but hey.).  What else is there, really?

It’s truly a meditative state, this care and feeding and stretching and reaching for something new.  It’s all mine–can’t buy it, can’t fake it–it’s utterly real and alive and in the moment.  Even if that moment is slower than molasses–it’s all mine.