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The 30-Day Yoga Challenge :: Day 4

4 Jun

Tonight marked day four of the 30-Day Yoga Challenge: Ashtanga Basics.

I went into class with a splitting headache. I took three Advil before I left the house and hoped that either yoga or the Advil would take away my pain. Twenty minutes into the practice, my headache was gone, and my head pain had been replaced with new pains (whatever muscle was currently being pulled and stretched at the moment).

This was a slightly shorter and slightly easier version of Saturday’s Ashtanga 1 practice and certainly passed my A.D.D. test. I’m okay with holding poses as long as it’s not anything longer than ten breathes.

Have I mentioned that all of the classes have been full lately? I think it’s because of the challenge. I was 15 minutes early today and had to set up mat at the very front of the class. Um… if I’m at the front of the class, who am I supposed to copy? Lucky for me, with all this yoga I’m actually starting to get the hang of some of these moves. I only had to do some not-so-subtle looking around a couple of times.

All this yoga has my body feeling great, but I have a confession: I miss running terribly. I miss the air in my lungs. I miss my ladies. And I miss our coffee breaks afterwards.

Speaking of running, today’s running haiku posted on runninghaiku.wordpress.com really got me giggling. Moving forward, I shall now refer to all porta-potties as “Honey Bucket.”

What’s your favorite nickname for porta-potties?

The 30-Day Yoga Challenge :: Day 3

4 Jun

Sunday marked day three of my 30-Day Yoga Challenge and day seven of working out in a row.

My body is starting to feel like it used to after a day of water skiing when I was young: I am sore everywhere. Everywhere? Yes, everywhere. I don’t think there’s a muscle that yoga doesn’t work. The good news is it’s just a slight sore. It’s not the severe sore that keeps you from being able to walk properly or lift your arms to brush your teeth.

Day 3: Yoga Basics

Due to scheduling conflicts, I had to miss the morning Hatha 1 class I was aiming for and instead go to a late afternoon Yoga Basics class. Since it was a beginner-friendly class, I had a special guest join me:

This Guy (a.k.a. My Boyfriend)

It was Donnie’s first yoga class, so it made yesterday’s practice super exciting. I knew he would love it and couldn’t wait to hear his thoughts on the class as we walked out of the door.

Turns out I was right… he loved it! His favorite part was the meditation and how yoga helps you leave your worries or stresses behind. He was a big fan of the nap at the end (or the shavasana), which was briefly interrupted by a train passing by (the studio is right next to a train track). On a side note, we also realized that we were sandwiched in between two snorers during shavasana.

I was super impressed by his flexibility. There were a couple of times that I was using a block as a prop and would see him going full stretch out of the corner of my eye. Why did I never realize he was so bendy before??

I missed sweating along side my boo. It made my heart happy! Back in the days before Marathonfest we used to run together and I have missed getting to spend that time with him.

We came home and ended the weekend with some turkey chili and wine. We rode that yoga high for as long as possible.

On to start the work week. I have a week full of yoga planned ahead of me.

What are your sweat plans for the week?

The 30-Day Yoga Challenge :: Days 1 and 2

2 Jun

Taking 26 yoga classes in the span of one month is going to be just like running a marathon. I have to pace myself. I can’t push too hard. And I’m going to reward myself at the end with a big, fat, juicy burger.

What I like about the challenge is that I have to try different styles of yoga because I have a limited schedule to work with. What I hate about the challenge is having to do new things. Oh silly me.

Day 1: Yin Yoga

Yesterday was the very first day of June, and so began the challenge. I was scheduled to celebrate a friend that evening for Happy Hour, so I opted to take a 4 PM class called “Yin Yoga” so I could make it to the bar on time. The studio’s website described the class as “A quiet practice, a series of long, slow postures that targets the connective tissues of the hips, pelvis and lower spine. Poses are held from 1-5 minutes long.”

I read this and thought to myself, “Oh good, I won’t sweat too much so I won’t have to take a shower.” Yes, I choose classes wisely.

It wasn’t until the class was about to start that I started to wonder exactly what kind of poses we would be holding for so long. I wondered this as I watched the human pretzel who set up shop in front of me folded up into… well… a pretzel. If this was her warm-up, what were we about to do??

The yoga class essentially went like this:

Yoga Instructor: Get in this really awesomely awkward position and hold it.

Me: (in my head) Oh dear. Does my leg even bend like that? Yes, sort of. Okay. I’m doing it! I’m holding it.

Yoga Instructor: Don’t forget to breathe…

Me: (in my head) Oh, yes. Breathe. Don’t forget to breathe. Ow. How long are we holding this for?

Yoga Instructor: Relax your shoulders. Relax your neck…

Me: (in my head) Relax my what? Ow. This is not comfortable at all. Good God… how long do we have to hold this for? Does anyone have a timer?!

Yoga Instructor: Relax your face…

Me: (in my head) Yeah, right. Relax? I don’t think I can. Why does Gumby Girl in front of me look like she’s peaceful and napping?

Yoga Instructor: Relax your eyelids…

Me: (in my head) $@#&%!!!

Yoga Instructor: Okay release.

Me: (in my head) Good God!

This pretty much continued itself for over an hour. I’ve never been so happy for Shavasana to come.

In retrospect, we spent the entire class deep stretching trouble spots for me so that was good. But damn, that was HARD. I might try to avoid this class, even though I think it was good for me.

Day 2: Ashtanga 1

The studio website describes this practice as “Ashtanga Yoga offers a vigorous flow of specific classic poses that heat the body to safely stretch and strengthen with an accent on the soothing breath.”

I’ve been meaning to try out this class but it always conflicted with my running on Saturday mornings. I’m glad I finally got to try it out because I liked it!

This class catered a bit more to my A.D.D (self-diagnosed, of course) and I was able to find a natural rhythm. Yes, it was still challenging, but I didn’t seem to mind as much. And I certainly didn’t curse as much in my head.

Also, our instructor was funny, which made some of the poses a lot more bearable. I’m easily distracted by jokes. Oh… I also lose my balance when I laugh. This happened several times. 🙂

Have you tried either of these styles of yoga? Why do you love/hate them?

On a side note, I’ve worked out six days in a row. Thursday I did a 20-minute cycle ride and arms. I feel like I could wrestle a bear and win. A tiny, baby bear. But nonetheless a bear. I’m rewarding myself with something fried today. I don’t know what, but I know it has to be battered and cooked in oil. Speaking of which, I’m overdue for lunch.

Happy weekend!

The 30-Day Yoga Challenge

2 Jun

The yoga studio that I’ve been going to issued a 30-day yoga challenge for the month of June. The goal is to take 26 yoga classes in 30 days, hopefully helping you discover the benefits of daily practice. I, however, am hoping to discover that I have the ability to be bendy, just like the girl who practiced in front of me yesterday. She was like Gumby. I’m quite sure she doesn’t have bones.

Downward Dog

(Source)

I found myself going back and forth on whether I should take the challenge, and finally decided to do it. Here’s why:

  • That damn IT band. It’s still working on Operation Heal. Since I won’t be rejoining my Marathonfest running group until it’s healed, I need something to do something in the meantime. If not, I’m going to bore on the stationary bike and at-home yoga and likely become a couch potato.
  • It’s just what the doctor ordered. Okay, so he didn’t exactly say I needed to challenge myself to 26 days of yoga in the span of one month. But he did say I need to stretch like I’ve never stretched before. And I needed to strengthen my hips, legs and core. I think yoga covers both.
  • Blogging about my home workouts is boring. Not just for me… I’m not sure how you feel, but you’re likely nodding your head in agreement.

I did have some things holding me back, but I think I came up with solutions:

  • The cost. In order to complete the challenge I would have to get an unlimited monthly class, which runs $135. This is a huge cost for me but was able to work it into my budget. Goodbye lunches and afternoon Starbucks trips with my co-workers. Hello Lean Cuisines and leftovers!
  • My hair. Yes, my hair was a part of the consideration process. Are you done snickering? No? Fine, I’ll give you a minute… Okay, I recently just got the ol’ Ombre do and it’s smokin’. Or should I say fried? See, I have very, very dark hair, so to get the my ends so light it required a lot of bleach. This bleach blonde requires special care  like avoid chlorine, ease up on the straightening iron, don’t wash hair every day. How can I sweat every day and not wash my hair and straighten?? I decided dry shampoo, curly hair and up do’s would be my solution.
  •  I hate to do laundry. My yoga clothes are really my running clothes. And I only have so many running clothes that are  yoga comfy. And I just spent $135, so I don’t have money to be buying new yoga clothes. I’m going to have to do laundry a lot. Did I mention that I hate doing laundry? I’m just going to have to suck it up.
  • There goes my social life. Wait, what social life? Yoga is my new best friend. For the month of June that is. Afterwards, we’ll probably get in a big fight and not talk to each other for a while while I go back to my old best friend, Running. And my running buddies, whom I already miss terribly.

And so, yesterday I embarked on this crazy journey of 26 yoga classes during the month of June. Also taking this challenge is Carolina from Peas in a Blog. I’m looking forward to sweating alongside her. I’m also looking forward to discovering that I too have no bones! 🙂

Have you ever done a streak, whether it be a run streak or a yoga streak or a (fill-in-an-excercise) streak? What were your biggest challenges?

Taking It Easy

29 May

I’ve been doing a lot of ‘taking it easy’ since the marathon. I’ve been  sleeping in, staying up late, eating cupcakes and drinking whatever I want to drink without worrying about how much it will hydrate me.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcake from Sweet Traditions in Winter Park. OMG.

It’s been nice fantastical.

But nonetheless, I’m getting restless. And there’s that issue where I recently split my pants. I took this as a direct sign from God that my ‘taking it easy’ time is over, and I need to start sweating stat.

But, of course, I need to ease in, and not push my IT band too much, or I’ll digress in my progress. By progress, I mean that I was able to go both up and down the stairs like a normal person at work today. Except for that little hop skip at the end where I decided that bending my leg was no fun. I’m going to miss my pirate peg leg.

Yesterday around noon I jumped on my stationary cycle and rode for 40 minutes. I chose to do a ‘random’ workout, which changes the level of intensity on me every couple of minutes. I almost punched the bike in the face a couple of times, coincidently when it went up to level 9.

I was able to ignore how much time I would be on the bad intervals or see that I had a bad interval coming up because my screen was blocked:

Say “hello” to my little friend.

That little buddy is my Nook. I finally finished up Bringing Up Bebe (Good: I learned a lot, but sometimes that doesn’t equate to being a page turner), and moved on to Gregor the Overlander (now this is a page turner). Around this time the rain started to fall hard around me and I couldn’t help but think I would rather be curled up on the couch reading this book. And then a level 9 interval kicked in, and I cursed. I like the Nook because it rests easily on my reading ledge and even though it has a touch screen, I can also opt to press the page over buttons to the side of the screen. This comes in handy when you’re as sweaty as I was yesterday.

And just like that, I was done:

3 warm-up + 40 min of random intervals + 3 cool-down

I headed into the kitchen, had a light lunch, waited for it to digest, then headed back out to the Florida room for workout #2: yoga. I picked this 73-minute class because it focused on the hamstrings. I think it worked because I was sore this morning!

This morning I woke up early and did a 30-minute random interval ride. Things were a bit rougher because I was a little (ahem) saddle sore. I had to keep readjusting to redistribute the pain.

3 min warm-up + 30 min random intervals + 3 min cool-down

After I jumped off the bike I could tell that my IT band was a little agitated. So I did a quick core workout then spent about 20 minutes  stretching every part of my legs.

It felt good to sweat.

Here’s the rest of my work-out for the week (sadly there’s no running included):

  • WED: Strength (hips/glutes) followed by a good long stretch and some brutal rolling of the legs
  • THU: Ride for 30 minutes on the ol’ stationary bike followed by strength (arms)
  • FRI: Easy yoga or rest (depending on how Happy Hour goes Thursday night)
  • SAT/SUN: Get one good yoga sesh in

With my training schedule I didn’t really plan many workouts because I am always so wiped from all of the running. This will be a nice change to have to plan ahead. Let’s see how well I do at sticking to the plan!

Do you plan your workouts out in advance? How well do you stick to the plan?

Post-Run (or Just Anytime) Poses

24 May

The Lululemon blog recently posted these great five post-run poses for running recovery:

Source

Check out the post for the how-to specifics. I can’t wait to do these stretches on my quest to heal my IT band. My doc suggested I work on stretching all of my leg muscles, not just my IT band. These poses seem to cover the hole gamut!

On a related note, I did my first exercise last night since the marathon that broke me I survived two and a half weeks ago. I busted out the ol’ stationary bike and did 40 minutes of easy riding while I caught up on my latest issue of Women’s Health. Then I moved on to this short 26-minute yoga practice. It felt so good to be moving! As for balancing, I couldn’t balance for the life of me. I looked like a drunk sailor trying to do yoga. I blame it on the IT band.

I miss running. I wonder if it misses me.

Shiny New Running Outfit

2 May

There are only four days until the Flying Pig Marathon and my emotions are everywhere. One minute I’m excited, and the other I’m so nervous because of this IT band issue. Excited is currently winning out and I think it’s because of this:

My new Lululemon marathon top

Yuppers, I got myself the Lululemon no limits tank in hot, hot pink for marathon day. I ran my first marathon in a no limits tank (in a different color) and had absolutely zero issues with chafing or the shirt riding up so I think I’m safe running in the same top without having actually taken it for a long test run. I will, however, wash the shirt so I don’t bleed hot pink (though that may be cool). I think the color is perfect for Flying Pig, don’t you think?

A couple of weeks ago I got the crops in the photo. They are the run: a marathon crop, also from Lululemon. I’ve done a couple of runs in them (one long run and one short) and they were great: the bottoms of the legs didn’t ride up and the top is higher wasted and didn’t ride down. And they passed the very-important-for-all-tights-bend-over test (when I bend over the pant does NOT get transparent). Perfect!

On a side note, it will be toasty on Sunday:

Expected weather for 2012 Flying Pig Marathon

However, I can’t run in shorts. My lovely Spanish thighs engulf shorts and I end up chafing and pulling my shorts down all run. So that’s why I’m usually in tights (unless it’s my Lululemon running skirt that I can use for anything shorter than 10 miles). It’s a good thing that my shirt opens up on the sides for some fresh air. 🙂

Yesterday I read this post by Meghann of Meals and Miles and it made me chuckle. I am in complete agreement with her when she wrote “I’m a big believer that a big race deserves a new outfit, sorta like a big date requires a new dress – am I wrong?” Nope, not wrong at all.

If you’re running your first half or full marathon, I would recommend you buy your new outfit a month before your race and wear it during a shorter long run. If it passes the test (no chafing, riding up, etc.) then wear it for your longest run. It’s amazing how a few miles can alter the wear of your running outfit. For example, I have a singlet that I wore in different colors for all three of my half marathons without any problems. However, when I wore one of them for an 18-mile run, I was surprised to see severe chafing on the inside of my arms. It was so bad I was bleeding! Needless to say, those are now restricted to runs 13 miles or shorter.

I consider this running outfit quite the splurge, but I’ve worked hard the last four months (and seven months before that training for Disney) and I like that I’m at a place where I can reward my hard work with a splurge like this. In my future I’ll have kids and a home to worry about and these days will be long gone. I’ll enjoy it while I can!

What do you do for your race-day running attire? 


Yesterday morning I went for a 3-mile walk with Emily, one of my group leaders. She’s running Flying Pig with me so it was nice to catch up and do some race day strategizing. Afterwards I rushed home to start my day with some yoga. I took it easy with this Yoga Vibes class, focusing on the outer hip and IT band.

Four days until the Flying Pig Marathon!

Gettin’ My Run/Yoga On

21 Apr

Sweatin’ pretty… I’ve been doing a lot of it lately. Special thanks to this lovely summer-time Florida weather and a big shout out to yoga.

Yesterday I woke up just before the sun rose to set up for yoga in our Florida room. It was dark, and perfect for getting focused.

Don’t worry, the sun rose in time for all the good stuff.

I was feeling great and super focused… until the wonderful aroma of brewing coffee wafted towards me. After that, all I could think about was getting my hands on a cup of joe. Mental note: Ask my boo to hold off on the coffee brewing until I’m done.

This morning I woke up late, so breakfast was just a banana and some peanut butter. I walked outside and was happy to see that it hadn’t started to rain like my weather app was forecasting. In fact, it never did rain. But the day has looked pretty ominous, like we’re on the verge of a storm.

My first run back started off well. It was muggy, but a good breeze kept us from being too hot.

Around mile seven I felt that good ol’ familiar IT band twinge in my right knee, so decided to run back to the car before running became painful. One of my group leaders, Sue, was out riding her bike as support so she rode it in with me.

Sue was riding her bike because she’s running a 12-hour ultra tonight. You gotta love her. To me, she has the perfect combination of wit, smartass, intelligence and crazy. Yes… crazy. You have to be crazy to want to run 12 hours through the night. Occasionally I have crazy moments where I tell Sue I’ll run an ultra with her one day. One day I hope that crazy sticks long enough for me to actually do it.

After the run we had some breakfast then me and fellow runner Erica headed off to meet up with Carolina from Peas in a Blog, who invited me to a donation-only yoga class being offered on Rollins campus by the Rollins Yoga Club. They were raising money for Water Project, a non-profit organization that builds wells and provides clean water to under-privileged villages. Full Circle Yoga instructor Rob Hefele led the outdoor class.

I loved yoga on the grass. It was perfect with Earth Day being tomorrow.

Nature's Yoga Studio

Yoga outdoors

Rob moved us through a series of positions and moves that kept my muscles guessing and stretching. The flow was faster than I’m generally used to, but loved it! And every time we would love over our shoulder to the “back of the class” this is what we saw:

Rollins Campus

Beautiful!

Technically, for the first half of the class we saw the Rollins lacrosse team pulling weights and doing sprints and such, but they eventually cleared the field for a more peaceful experience.

Note to self – when doing yoga outside please remember the following:

  • A towel to lay yoga mat on so that it doesn’t get too wet if the grass is dewy.
  • Don’t take shoes off until you are stepped fully on the mat. Otherwise you will have to wipe your feet off with your dirty socks because you forgot a towel too.

After winning a spa raffle (what??? I never win anything) and a jaunt down Park Ave. back to our cars, I was ready for a shower. Freshly clean and belly full, I’ve spent the last several hours icing and compressing my poor leg.

On my next run, I’m going to run with my new NB Minimus shoes. What if all of this is just a sign that I should’ve already done the switch, rather than waiting until after Flying Pig Marathon? Eek!

In Sue’s words, “Won’t you feel stupid if you went through all this pain and you just needed new shoes?” Why yes, Sue, yes I would. Let’s hope that’s the problem and I’m back to running strong in no time. 🙂

Do you have any special plans for Earth Day tomorrow?

It crept up on me again this year and it’s going to be rainy all day. I’m blank on ideas.

Testing the Waters

18 Apr

Okay, so I know that I said that I wasn’t going to do any running this week in efforts of healing my IT band, but I couldn’t stop myself from taking the ol’ legs out for a test spin Monday night.

I was riding my yoga high when Donnie came home from work and said that he was going to run one mile. Yes, that’s correct. ONE mile. He is currently coming back from an almost-stress fracture in his foot and is starting on his long road back to recovery … one quarter of a mile at a time.

Wanting to be the ever supportive girlfriend and feeling good from my yoga, I volunteered to go with him. I brought along our pug, Tank to make sure we didn’t go further than that. Pugs aren’t exactly runners, but this one is always looking to run some laps in.

We didn’t run far, and my legs were feeling tip top. However, I’m going to stick to my plan and do yoga instead of my run tomorrow just to make sure. And it looked like we wore Tank out. He was napping soon after we returned.

Yesterday morning, I woke up and did another yoga class from YogaVibes.com in the Yoga for Runners series. This time I took the class appropriately named Yoga for Runners. Like the day before, I set up shop in the Florida room and it was perfect. Our Florida room has two of the four walls covered with windows so you almost feel like you’re outside. And as I was doing my breathing, the sun was rising and the birds were chirping. It was amazing.

I went to work feeling completely relaxed. At one point we had a meeting where my boss brought up something that normally gets me stirred up. But yesterday I just sat and smiled and said “I did yoga this morning. You’re not going to get me riled up today. ” Ha!

How’s your week going so far?

Online Yoga

16 Apr

Since I had to recently alter my Flying Pig Marathon training plan and take a week off from running in order to do some healing on my IT band, I decided to fill my run time with yoga. Particularly yoga that focuses on stretching my hips and IT band.

After a quick “best online yoga videos” search, I came across this article on Livestrong.com. The ‘yoga for athletes’ series on YogaVibes.com caught my eye and I went to check it out. After seeing that they have a free 15-day trial, I realized how perfect this would be for me. With only 20 days left before my 2nd marathon, this would be perfect to tie me over.

And if I don’t cancel my membership at the end of 15 days, I will start being charged $20 per month. That’s not too shabby considering I’m currently paying $15 per class. This would allow me to do more than one yoga class each week!

This afternoon I opted for a 72-minute outer hip and IT band focused vinyasa flow class in the Yoga for Athletes series. It was just what I needed!

I took my computer out to our Florida room and set it on a small table a couple of feet ahead of my yoga mat.

Here’s a screenshot of what the video looked like full screen:

Outer Hip and IT Band class from Sage Rountree's Yoga for Athletes Series on YogaVibes.com

The teacher, Sage Rountree, was great! I liked that she was a runner that started yoga for it’s benefits to long distance runners. She did a great job of explaining and showing poses and a couple of times she corrected posture for someone in the class and I realized I needed to correct my posture too. It almost felt like I was in the room with them!

My hips and IT band feel amazing and I’m currently ridin’ that yoga high.

As the days progress, I’ll let you know how I enjoy additional classes in the Yoga for Athletes series.

Have you ever taken an online yoga class? Which one? How did you like it (or not)?