Sunday, February 16, 2014

New Year New Things

I've been in a running funk lately. Hell a life funk but I won't overwhelm you with those details. January I didn't skip any of my workouts for my RunKeeper training. I ran almost 50 miles and spent about 10 hours doing it. I've been feeling stronger in my runs and my times are improving, slowly but surely. The weather though has really put a damper on my 4 runs a week training. I don't mind running on the treadmill two days a week before work, but on the weekends when one of those trainings is a distance run, it's torture. I don't care how many movies or playlists I make I cannot run on a treadmill 4 days a week.

Unfortunately with all the snow/ice/sleet, it's not practical for me to run outside. Sure they make special covers you can put on your shoes for running in the snow but I'm just not willing to risk it. I'm too accident prone and cannot deal with a broken bone ontop of everything else. Hell I woke up early yesterday just to do my 3 miles/sprints workout to beat the rain/sleet/snow storm and almost ate it on black ice just getting out of my driveway (luckily the rest of the run was uneventful). I've been skipping workouts and that's not an effective way to reach my goals.

As you may or may not be aware, I have a bit of a stress issue which lead to the finding and repair of a minor heart problem the procedure of which  I had back in November. My doctor had recommended that along with my regular exercise, I start partaking in stress relief activities such as yoga or deep breathing exercises. As if Groupon knew, they ran a deal for 10 Bikram Yoga classes at a studio only 20 minutes from my house.

I bought it on a whim in January and have been sitting on the Groupon for over a month now with the expiration date rapidly approaching. I decided that since I'm in this running funk, and there was no way I was busting 6 miles out on the treadmill today (thank you overnight snow), today would be the day I'd finally attend a class.

Mind you, I took a yoga class once in my hometown gym and HATED it. It was slow, crowded, and the positions were too difficult for me. I never went back. That was years ago and this new studio advertises right on their website that it only offers beginning level classes. I knew to dress lightly and hydrate well since you're in a heated room. I still wasn't prepared.

I arrived for the 10 am class by 9:40 since I was new and needed to register. The 8 am class had let out and they were drinking some sort of green shakes out of mason jars. I show up in capris, and a running t-shirt, whats up guys!

The first thing I noticed is the overwhelming smell of feet. Awesome. That's probably because the shoe rack is right by the front door, but still. Gross. After the initial shock of stench, the receptionist and instructor were really nice helping me register and asking my experience. As I advised I have none, they said that I will be fine, to take my time, and if at any time need to stop it's okay, just do what I feel comfortable with. I was directed to the 'hot room' to place my mat and get ready for class.

HOT ROOM is understatement of the century. It's hot and humid. And smells like feet and sweat. I placed my mat down and sat on it. I was sweating already and not even doing anything. I noticed that most other individuals were lying down on their mats so I did the same. OH MY GOD then just lying down I was sweating even more. I mean, I had boob sweat dripping down my chest already was I breathing too hard?! This is crazy, I thought. I'M NOT EVEN DOING ANYTHING YET AND SWEAT IS POURING OFF ME I'M GOING TO DIE!

Class started promptly at 10 am with the instructor calling out the names of the new people for today's class. She loved my enthusiasm since I was the first name called and my hand shot up like hey guys, please notice all the mistakes I'm making.

It truly wasn't bad at all. Sure, my clothing was sweat soaked about 10 minutes in (next time, tank top all the way), but I held my own in the class. Thankfully I wasn't the only one unable to hold positions. Some of the regulars had to adjust or take breaks as well. I even surprised myself with some of the poses I was able to hold, probably thanks to my running. The instructor was patient and helped explain what the different poses were doing to help our bodies.

Toward the end I was getting uncomfortable just from the heat, and something called a camel pose that when I attempted thought I was going to pass out so I decided to just sit that one out instead (apparently that pose will make you see stars so it's normal, alrightly then). I will admit I was relieved when she announced the final pose. Then they have you lay quietly on your back and give you a frozen cold towel with some essential oil that could have been crack cocaine I don't care it felt amazing on my face (that's what she said).

As we lay quietly at the end I realized that I thought about NOTHING the entire class. I was entirely focused on my body and the movements it was making. It was refreshing for me to take a break from my head because there is no off switch. Running is when I tend to sort out my problems and issues of the week to find solutions or just work through them. Yoga just had me focusing on myself and quieted those ever nagging voices, which was incredible.

Overall, I did notice a difference after the class. The tension and stress that I carry in my lower back and shoulders is GONE. Usually only a massage can get rid of that (with my masseuse scolding me for carrying a heavy purse and being so stressed, like I enjoy being stressed or something) but here I am 90 minutes later feeling relief I haven't felt in months. I guess we'll see how sore I am tomorrow.

I will definitely be going back for my 9 remaining classes. I don't think I'll be getting a membership or doing Bikram Yoga on the regular, but it's nice to have an exercise option for if I'm feeling overwhelmed or need to just zone out.

After class some as I sat in the reception area putting my shoes on some of the people were drinking their green smoothies again. So I came home and did the same...with a Bloody Mary. Hey, it's red and made of tomato juice and vodka is made from potatoes and I don't have a mason jar so whatever. You know me, I can't get too Zen over here.