Thursday, May 15, 2014

Stretch, Balance, Breathe

I drive about 45 minutes to the gym near where I work to swim and spin.  Why?  I beat traffic...CHICAGO traffic.  Also, there aren't any gyms nearby that have a pool.  I have to get there in time to rock out a semi-decent swim workout, and get ready for my day, so I leave my house around 5:00am.  

I arrived at the gym yesterday morning and found this.

I grumbled for a (very brief) moment, then started quickly thinking about what I could do instead of a swim workout.  I keep my cycling shoes and shorts in my Apera Performance Duffel bag (HUGE shoe pockets on the sides!), but knowing that Harry and I had speedwork with the Chicago /R/iver /R/unners crew later in the day, I put spinning out of my head.  I then thought about Yoga.  Yes...!  I need more Yoga in my life, and this was the BEST opportunity!  I changed out of my Speedo and into some comfy clothes, grabbed my headphones, phone, and ran into the dark, empty group exercise room.

I'm not the biggest fan of practicing Yoga in the mornings by myself.  I've taught early 6:00am classes, where I just wanted everyone to begin their day calmly with me.  I'd light a couple of candles for meditation, lower the lights and use calm voice and prompting techniques.  My patrons loved it!  However, I can't create that kind of ambiance or environment all on my lonesome.  I'm also afraid that I'll fall asleep in Corpse Pose.  :P  I was energized this morning, though!

I'm really lucky that I've taught Yoga for so long.  I began with Sun Salutations (about 15 times through), then moved into different poses with ease and flow, making up a routine as I went along.  Since I was practicing on a whim, I held poses for everything I could think of:  Stretching hammies, calves, hip-opening, chest-opening, back, spinal twists, and foot and hand balances.

I ended my 45-minute session with some Happy Baby pose.  I spared you a photo of that.  Hah.  :D

I had so much energy throughout the day.  What a relief!  My shoulders felt like they were "out of my ears".  I felt taller. I smiled more.  Was it just a good day, or did my AM Yoga have something to do with it?  I'm sure it could've been both.  I felt like my mood and spirit were lifted sky-high!

Later in the afternoon, Harry and I hit up the track for speedwork with the crew.  Fearless Leader Greg and my Sole Mate Steph were absent this evening (sad panda!), but Jeff showed up to run with us!  Greg also posted our workout for us, so for that, we are very thankful.  :)  Though the sky looked to be pretty dark with looming clouds, we didn't expect rain until after we were done with our session.

The three of us started with a quarter mile warm-up.  We stopped for some water, a short stretch, and to chat about what paces we were expecting to hit for the workout:  4 sets of 5 minutes on difficult pace, 5 minutes off with recovery.  Harry ran a 10K (and placed first in his age group!  Way to go, Kid!) this past Sunday, so he was keeping it pretty easy.  He and Jeff were on the same page in regards to effort.  I hadn't run since Saturday and wasn't sure where I would be in terms of pacing (as per usual).  We started off with a good, difficult effort for the first five minutes.  We think the nasty weather kept messing with our GPS devices.  Harry's watch was showing us going way slower than mine, and Jeff's was showing that we were going way faster.  I decided that I wouldn't really base anything off of a pace and just run for effort.

After a couple of sets, I was feeling pretty good.  With the guys aiming for easy paces, I moved ahead and was pretty much solo.  I missed talking to Steph, but realized that this was a good opportunity to listen to my breathing.  I wasn't really huffing and puffing at all; it was controlled and calm.  This might sound goofy, but my inhalations and exhalations sounded "smart".  I started thinking about my effort and how it felt a bit slower than my ideal 5K pace.  That's pretty much on par for a tempo run.  My last recovery was more of a warmdown, and I met the guys to stretch and converse about our efforts.

Jeff was down to join Harry and I for a beer at Bad Dog Tavern.  "$6 GOURMET BURGERS!"  Harry loves this place.  :)

Cheers to an awesome day of smart training decisions and taking advantage of fantastic opportunities for best efforts!


  1. I have found that yoga is one of the best gifts that I can give myself, yet often is the one that I struggle to go and do. Like, I'll nearly talk myself out of it frequently, but it almost never fails to make me feel like a new person. Good for you for sticking to your guns and yoga'ing yourself out!

  2. I've been talking myself out of yoga lately too. I need to get back in the habit because I do feel great after.


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