Getting back on the track

I missed vinyasa class tonight because of a heavy workload and a boss who’s traveling tomorrow. When I got home, I had a choice: either watch the Trudie Styler DVD to write the review or go running. I choose running. I put in nearly two miles at a slow trod.

I used to run a lot until my knee injury and surgery. A few weeks ago, at the gym working on the stationary bike and elliptical trainer, I felt an impulse and jumped on the treadmill just to see what it was like, maybe just a quick walking pace. I did not feel anything bad. I stepped up the speed. At the end of 15 minutes, I was trotting along without any pain or complications. The following day, I felt no adverse consequences. I started jogging again, gingerly, at the gym and at a high school track near my house, first with a mile, then, adding a quarter of a mile gradually, until I am up to two miles now.

When I was recovering from my surgery, I focused on getting back to yoga because the discipline had a ripple effect throughout my life. I ruled out running because I did not want to overstress my knees. But running had never been the cause of my injury: it was actually yoga, an over-aggressive moment when I put too much weight over my bent knee.

What pushed me back to running was my yoga practice: I’ve been doing one or two sessions a week of hatha yoga with Marylou McNamara at Thrive. She’s trained as a Anusara teacher so she works a lot on alignment — long, repeated holds of fairly simple poses (lunge, Warrior I, II, III). I feel that I am able to access key muscles in my shoulders, back, core, and hips for the first time, and her instruction helps me focus on those areas. But a hatha class does not get much into aerobic conditioning, and I’ve noticed in the vinyasa classes that I’ve been getting winded. If I was going to continue going hatha yoga classes, I needed to add some aerobic exercise, either at the gym, the yoga studio or elsewhere.

So that’s why I started running again. My short-term goal is to get ready for the Brian Kest weekend workshop at Thrive coming up on October 23-25. He teaches an Ashtanga, power yoga style that’s going to test my limits over four two-hour sessions. I knew I had to step up conditioning.