Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Putting the "ommmm" in my mileage

My knee.  My running knee.  The must-have appendage to get me to my daily happy place of physical exhaustion, sweaty clothes, and the habit-forming runner’s high.  You may remember that several weeks ago, the right one looked like this:

I was not a happy camper.

One MRI (showing no torn ligaments or floating cartilage) and one blood test (indicating I did not have Rheumatoid Arthritis – whew!) later, my doctor told me the following:

  • I am not 20-years-old anymore.
  • I must cut down my mileage or I won’t be running in 5 years.
  • I am no longer a young woman.
  • I need to try some yoga.
  • I am essentially over-the-hill.
  • My knees joints are looser than the average person’s and therefore have created scar tissue and irritation under the kneecaps.
  • I am old.

Okay, so he only said I was old once, but it sunk in.  Yes, 35-years-old isn’t ancient by most standards, but when it came to running I was treating my body the same way I had since college and expecting faster races, longer distances, and quicker recovery times.  Oops.

Yoga, he said, would help me slow down, strengthen the muscles around my kneecap (and ultimately help me run stronger), and enjoy a great workout with no impact.

And here is where I confess that a small part of me breathed a sigh of relief.  I knew I was pushing my body too hard; but no one had ever given me permission (yep, the dancer in me still looks for permission from my superiors!) to slow down.  I assumed I needed to keep up my tough workouts because they were good for me, good for my running, and, let’s face it, felt great.  But if I am really being honest with myself, I loved the thought of changing things up; slowing down; trying something that I always said I would do when I ‘got older’ (which, as it turns out is in my thirty-fifth year).

Of course the hard-core workout girl in me can’t change overnight, so I’ve signed myself up for ten classes of Bikram Yoga (the notoriously difficult hot yoga) and after completing two classes, I will tell you the following:

  • The room temperature when you start the class is a humid 105°.
  • The class is 90 minutes long, which means when you and the 100 people taking the class with you are finally done, the temperature in the room is approximately equal to the surface of the sun.  Except that it is more humid.
  • I have never sweated so much in my entire life.
  • It is, by far, one of the most challenging things (mentally and physically) I have ever done.
  • I absolutely love it!

We’ll see where my new interest leads.  Right now I have visions of continuing to attend classes, getting better, getting stronger and eventually ruling the world (Don’t laugh.  Believe me, you feel like you can do anything after one of these classes).  But in reality I am still learning to slow things down, including my expectations, so I will try to just sit back, relax, breath in and out (through your nose, darn it!), and enjoy each 90-minute ride as they come.


Happy Tuesday, everyone!


  1. As soon as I read your doctor's suggestion that you try yoga, my very first thought was that you would love Bikram. I've done about every variety of yoga and if it weren't so inconvenient for me here (no studio with convenient class times is close enough to me to justify it, not to mention Jamison not being thrilled to foot the bill for another fitness-related thing when our gym offers lots and lots of [already paid for]yoga classes, alas), I'd still be doing it.

    The sweating is really unlike anything I've ever experienced and it kind of sounds crazy if you objectively analyze what you're doing, but I will never, ever forget the feeling of accomplishment that you have when class is over. Enjoy a few classes for me (think of me during your next toe stand), okay?

    If you're looking for a more challenging yoga of the non-hot variety, I prefer Ashtanga as it's a little (actually, a lot) more purely athletic (not that I'm some super athlete by any means but I hate going to class only to leave feeling like I just spent an hour focusing on breathing with no real physical effort involved) than other schools of yoga. In fact, my very favorite teacher is constantly reinforcing how certain poses and adjustments are beneficial to runners/avid exercisers. Just another option if you need one...

    Also, I'm totally impressed that you braved air travel with two little ones. I'm still quite a ways away from solo travel with Will and Laura, unfortunately. I'm glad that you got some much-deserved girl time, though, and I know that made any and all travel hassles well worth it!

    Hope you guys are doing well and that you're enjoying your yoga/"slowing down" journey!

    1. Sara! I will definitely think of you during Bikram (and try not to put thoughts of you in between my less-than-ladylike thoughts I sometimes/always have during the class). I'll definitely look into Ashtanga (although I don't think our gym has that). While Will is 100% okay with the additional cost of Bikram (at least for now!), it rubs me the wrong way to pay for two fitness programs at once, too. I tried two other yoga classes at our neighborhood gym (and one Body Flow class that I really liked), but I'm selfishly sticking with Bikram for now.

      Yes, the plane ride was a success, but as I'm sure you know, the vacation itself was completely exhausting. We are all happy to be home and sleeping in separate rooms again!

      Take care and good luck with the first days of school. How are we all of a sudden the parents of Kindergarteners???