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Journey To the Finish Line

PR's, 4 children, hopes and dreams; I'm always running after something

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Yoga

Stretch

The day after my long run Saturday, I was, perhaps not surprisingly, still sore. I plan Sunday to be my yoga day for a reason, but that day I was more sore and tired than usual. So instead of searching out my usual Power Yoga/Interval videos, I decided on a Therapeutic Yoga instead, figuring it would go at a slower pace and allow more stretching.

Typically, Power Yoga is yoga I prefer. I don’t sit still well, and often become impatient when I have to hold poses for what I feel is too long. I have this mentality that workouts should raise my heart rate and tend to feel like they are useless when it doesn’t. That day, even though my brain was wanting to push, my body needed the rest. Knowing that, though, didn’t make breathing through the longer series of stretches any easier for my brain that never stops, and I still felt myself feeling frustrated.

I’ve written before about how I’m not very good at staying in the moment, my mind wandering away like a curious toddler. At least during power yoga, my heart rate is high enough and I am moving quickly enough that I am, at least some of the time, able to focus my mind on my balance and breathing. I couldn’t do it sitting in these stretches. My mind was everywhere, mostly wondering if a recent change I’d decided to make was the right one.

When I began working after graduate school, I worked with adults for 2.5 years, but didn’t feel I was really making a difference. After that, I made a fairly large leap by switching over to pediatrics. As it happened, I worked for my current boss prior to graduate school in the office, and then as a semi-nanny to his son. I’ve since worked at his company for the last 4.5 years. For various reasons that I don’t feel the need to write about here, I fought with a decision to change work location for a good couple of months. It was by no means an easy decision, and I was breaking apart every detail, wondering if I’d made the right choice. I have fantastic co-workers and he gave me an opportunity he didn’t have to offer, which made the decision that much harder to make. Change makes me nervous, and though I’m more than wiling to stretch myself to the limit when it comes to physical fitness, in other aspects of my life I’m not as flexible.

When the video ended (I admit I did fast forward a little), I felt stretched but still unsettled, much like I did in my brain. I set a goal to hold a forearm stand by the end of 2014 and honestly haven’t practiced much until recently, realizing we are nearing the end of the year. Feeling somewhat desperate for something that would give me a feeling of success, I kicked my legs and up prepared to balance them against the wall. After a second, I realized something.

I was holding them up myself. I was holding the forearm stand without the wall.

Granted, this whole experience was over in about 3 seconds, but it was enough to make me realize that I’m more capable than I give myself credit for, and in this case, not physically, but mentally. I can stretch myself mentally as well, and make it out ok.

Time to move forward, and keep stretching.

Mishmash

Well, I certainly never intended to go over a week without a blog. After the twins got over their fevers over the weekend, I got sick. I’d had congestion on and off that I attributed to allergies or a cold, but it turned into a sinus infection. I called in sick to work last Wednesday when I woke up with a fever. I had planned to blog since I was home but felt too cruddy. I spent the day on the couch watching Gilmore Girls, which, other than being sick was really enjoyable.

Instead of my usual half day Thursday I worked a full day. My parents were down for a visit from Thursday night to Monday night, so it was a very busy weekend. I do have some cute pictures, though.

cruising the mall
cruising the mall
naps on grandpa
naps on grandpa
stroller footsie
stroller footsie

Running wise, I’m still scheduled for my first half marathon this year a week from Sunday. Frustratingly, I’ve been having issues with my SI joint/pyriformis the last week or so. During my 11 mile run I had to stop and stretch and my chiropractor said during my last visit that my pelvis is beginning to turn again. This is particularly aggravating not only because of my two halves I have scheduled, but the full marathon I’d hoped to complete next spring, and because I honestly started to believe that periodic chiropractic visits and stretching would be enough. I doubt its a coincidence that its been acting up as I’ve increased my mileage, though all my muscles ended up REALLY tight from being sick. Forward bends and downward dogs actually hurt when I did my yoga last Sunday.

Still, I’ve been considering either an orthopedic specialist or sports medicine doc visit – if anyone has any experience in my particular injury or an idea as to which doc would be more worth my time, please let me know. I’d appreciate any advice!

We also did our first stroller run over the weekend as it was finally cool enough to run with the twins. Um, they are a little heavier this year. Pushing almost 50lbs of toddler is no joke!

one and done
one and done

I officially failed at my 30 day challenge attempt. After the twins got sick and I got sick it fell off the calendar. I do have plans to complete it still, but nowhere near within 30 days at this point 🙂

I still plan to finish my invisalign “review”, have a guest post to write this weekend, and of course, the monthly twin update is coming up soon. (woo!)

This also fell by the wayside lately, but don’t forget I am always looking for guest posts! The only requirement is honesty. Brutal honesty, if necessary.

You know you want to write a guest post!

Thoughts On the Mat

I pulled out my trusty yoga mat yesterday. I’ve been practicing once a week regularly since my injury and have only recently become comfortable enough with the routines (I use you tube videos) and strong enough to really appreciate the benefits of many of the poses.

A competitive person by nature (shock, I know), when I practiced yoga in college I was always trying to be able to do what the person next to me was doing. A few *cough* years later, I can finally appreciate the idea of practicing only for my own benefit without worrying where others are in their own practice. A few weeks ago I finally managed a headstand with both feet up in the air, but it was still several more weeks before I wasn’t fighting my weak abs and really understood why people want to “get upside down”.

I’m proud that I’ve come this far, but I still have a consistent, nagging battle that I fight, both on the mat and off. In all the classes I have taken (in person and on you tube), the instructor often talks about the importance of being present on the mat. That means simply being where you are, right then, and not worrying or thinking about anything else. I constantly have a million things running through my mind. No matter what I’m doing, I’m thinking about what needs to be done, what is next on the list, what has been left undone. I’m checking my text messages and my emails. I’m thinking of dirty dishes, the next days work schedule, the next mornings’ workout, calculating how much time I have before nap is over so I can complete said to do list.

I can write an entire blog about thoughts on the mat because I am horrible about keeping my mind from wandering. What I’d really like is to be able to title my blog post “Thoughts On the Mat” and simply leave the body blank. And it’s not just in yoga that I have this issue, it’s with the twins, with my husband, with my friends, at work, in bed when I should be sleeping. Every minute of every day.

Every once in awhile I’m able to really focus on the music, concentrate on my breathing, and put all of my energy into my pose. For those few seconds, I am calm, relaxed and, at the risk of sounding corny, zen.

I wonder how many things I am missing. How many little moments with the twins I let slip away or openings for a heart to heart with Bryan I let slide by. I’m afraid I’m going to spend all my time in the future, and wake up one morning and realize I’ve missed my life.

Anyone out there good at staying present?

On Becoming Flexible

I can be a fairly inflexible person, both literally and figuratively. I like to have a plan, and once I make said plan I want to follow said plan (as a matter of fact, I just ordered a planner). If someone or something puts a dent in my plan I don’t always cope well. My muscles it seems are much like my plans – fairly inflexible. It takes some time to work the kinks out. Motherhood has helped some since infants tend to not give two sh*ts about plans, but that doesn’t mean I still haven’t attempted to dictate feeding and nap times down to the minute.

After I injured my back/hip a few months ago one of the first things the chiropractor told me was that I was going to have to start incorporating more cross training into my exercise routine. I took a weekly yoga class in college that I really enjoyed but fell out of the habit once I graduated. The last thing I want to do is risk re-injury so about a month ago I re-introduced weekly yoga practice.

Power Yoga has always been my class of choice. I enjoy and benefit from the stretching and breathing but if I’m going to exercise prefer to participate in something that is going to increase my heart rate. (Plus its the class I took in college so its more what I’m used to.) After brushing the dust bunnies and dog hair off of the yoga mat that’s been sitting in my downstairs closet for years (and coughing and sneezing a few times), I rolled it out and scrolled through my You Tube video options.

My first attempt was…..interesting. While my imagination had me mastering the crow (or crane) pose the reality was after two chaturanga’s my arms were shaking like leaves. The good news was I found I enjoyed it as much if not more than before. The bad news is it showed me just how stiff and weak much of my body really is. Because not only did I have to hang out in childs pose during several plank to chaturanga transitions, for the next two days? I was SORE. In fact, when I returned to the chiropractor two days later with that report, he laughed at me (obviously the man has never done yoga).

Two weeks ago, Bryan lost his job. My first reaction was, like usual, to panic. Walking around in a ball of anxiety I worried about our finances. To worry and prepare some makes sense but the reality is we are not likely to go broke during this temporary bout of unemployment. Money is something I tend fret about, often unnecessarily.

Coincidentally (or maybe not), I found myself able to let go of some of these over the top worries each week while on my mat. I even found myself saying “well isn’t that what savings is for?”. As someone who wants to put money into savings and NEVER EVER TOUCH IT, this was a big forward step. In addition to that, I found myself become stronger and more flexible physically even with only a months worth of weekly yoga “classes”. Last week I was able to hold the crow pose for a few seconds and do several plank to chaturanga transitions without fatiguing. It takes less and less time to warm up and I’m able to bend and twist further into poses.

I’m not sure I’ll be able to change my thought processes to be more flexible quite as quickly, but I try when I start fretting to bring myself back to reality, or to put it off until the next time I pull out the (now non dust covered) mat. The injury that frustrated me to no end at first is working its way into something positive. Without it, my mat would likely continue to be a home for spiders (ew).

(On a somewhat related note, I’m tweaking my New Years Resolutions. Since running 6 half marathons this year is likely not possible, my new goal is to be able to enter, exit and hold a forearm balance in a controlled manner. Stay tuned for updates on this :))

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