Saturday, June 26, 2010

In which I discover that I am NOT all

This week my legs have been so...freaking... tight.  Like not even just painful sore, like... actually tight.  I don't know if it's because I suddenly increased the amount I was running or what.  But wow.  It's even been making it so I can't sleep at night.  Basic stretching hasn't been doing much.

I took a beginner's yoga class for about a year when I was an undergrad, and I know I was a lot stretchier back then (and also a lot fatter, but that's another story.)  So I figured, what better way to stretch out and stop feeling like I'm hobbling along on tight muscles than yoga?  I know a lot of runners do yoga along with their running, so maybe they're compatible.  But after discovering there's no way I can afford to sign up for actual yoga classes, the other day I ordered this Athlete's Guide to Yoga book from the library.  It's not here yet, but I've been concerned that there's no way I'll be able to do it from a book anyhow, because I won't know how to sequence poses and will have to flip around in the book while I'm trying to do a workout.  Fortuitously enough I stumbled upon a blogger (Organically Me) who does yoga, and she gets her workouts from  There are short ones there for free, and longer ones you can pay for that are really cheap, for the most part.  I downloaded a 20 minute free Yoga for Runners one.  I figured I would try it later, but really, it's not as if I'm getting any productive work done right now anyway, so I tried it out.

Cue sequence of awkward events:
I make space on the bedroom floor and put my yoga mat down.  I shut the cat out of the room, print out the pose guide, and start the audio.
Just as I'm getting into the first downward dog, the cat appears out of nowhere (she opened the door! is nothing sacred any more?) and she gets on the mat directly under me and does a huuuuuuge cat-stretch.  Her favorite thing in the world is to sink her claws into my yoga mat (we've discovered this before), so this will never do.  Apparently she likes the mat for stretching, too.
So the sequence progresses and I recall how wobbly I am.  Remember, I am the person who was told by a Wii Fit that I have the balance of an 85 year old woman.  This does not bode well for yoga apparently.  I'm wobbling all over the place.  But I know it was never this bad back when I was in yoga classes.
Then I discover that I can no longer straighten my legs while trying to stretch.  This is new.  Before I was a runner, I was really flexible; apparently running actually DOES shorten your muscles. (?!)  So it's difficult if not impossible to get into the poses correctly; I have to keep modifying them, so I'm probably not getting the full benefit, but it was the best I could do.
This particular workout has a leg stretching sequence that looks easy enough on paper.

.....yeah, not easy at all.  The whole thing involved like one continuous stretch of my hip muscles, first on one side, then on the other.  Not to mention that my version of "leg high" and "standing splits" was somewhat of a joke and almost involved falling over.  It's frustrating because if I'm going to bother doing it, I want to be doing it properly.  I remember yoga being more difficult than I thought, but in the class I had it was difficult because of holding the poses, not because getting into the pose in the first place was awkward.  (though holding these poses was plenty more difficult than it looks, me.)

So, I finished my pathetic attempt at the routine (longest 20 minutes ever) and walked around a bit, and I have to say that my hips feel really stretched and a lot better.  My hamstrings and calves are still tight, but maybe because I wasn't stretching them enough.  And yoga always did make me feel good generally, which I'd forgotten about.  I want to keep doing this and I want to be doing it right.  So I think I'm going to see if I can do it now and then during the week, to see if it will help me be able to regain the flexibility I once had, and to see if that helps with running tightness at all.  Twenty minutes a day shouldn't kill me, and there are a bunch of different twenty minute ones I can download for free.  Sooo...stay tuned for more, I guess.

I wish the yoga download things were video and not audio, but it was ok having audio accompanied by a printable pose guide.

I overslept this morning and missed the group run at 8am, so now I have to do my 9 miles by myself later tonight, hopefully after it cools off somewhat.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, I just today found your blog. You can watch yoga on Youtube, I like Sadie Nardini's channel. I'm sure there are others, I'm just not huge on yoga so I haven't really looked. But I can count on her to kick my butt if I so choose. I also ordered some Baron Baptiste dvds off Ebay for cheap, I think it was $10 for 4.

    Another thing from one of your newer posts; when I started running barefoot it was fine for awhile, then my foot, like somewhere in my foot but not the bones, started to hurt in the weirdest way. I could have forced the runs, it wasn't that bad, but in a way it was. It was such an odd pain. It has gone away, but I did take some 2 and 3 day breaks in between short runs, and did other things, like yoga :)