Sunday, April 15, 2012

Cobra Warrior!!!

For the last several weeks leading up to my Half and then since, I have been in a pretty nice little groove when it comes to running. I think one of the keys to a healthy, successful training regimen is have a routine. And to be a little crazy and obsessive. I do well with both.

My routine is kind of like this:

Monday - "Easy" run (slower than ideal race pace)
Tuesday - Conditioning Class (i.e. Boot Camp from hell)
Wednesday - Deep Water Running class (i.e. old lady running)
Thursday - Speed or Hill run
Friday - Rest (just like God did)
Saturday - Looooong run
Sunday - ???????

It was the "??????" that I wanted to fill in. I am generally tired from my long run and -- let's be realistic -- somewhat hungover. Elliptical machines weren't cutting it. Spinning is not my thing. So what to do?

My friend Rachel mentioned a Lifebooker groupon thing for Yoga classes at Exhale Spa. I was skeptical. I've done yoga before, and -- honestly -- wasn't really into it. I find some of the instructors to border on hokey, I dislike cute women in matching outfits/mats, and I was also bad at it. And I don't like being bad at things. That said, I've also heard incredible things about yoga for runners...particularly for disastrous injury-prone runners like myself. And Exhale is supposed to be good, and there's a branch only a few blocks away from me. So fine. I bought a package of three classes a few weeks ago and decided to cash in on my first one this lovely Sunday morning.

When my alarm went off (at 9:30 am, mind you -- this wasn't a crack of dawn situation), it wasn't pretty. I had a few beverages last night and was feeling not very "om"-like. But I had bought the class and I don't like wasting money. My cheapness won out, and I dragged my sorry butt out of bed, into yoga pants, and down the street to class.

I liked the studio immediately. I seriously might join just to use their bathroom. It was delightful.

Rachel and I had signed up for "Slow Flow Vinyassa" which is exactly what it sounds like. Chill Yoga. Relax Yoga. Beginner's Yoga. We were a few minutes late -- because I like to make an entrance -- and after we completely disrupted the peaceful relaxation mood of the room setting up our mats, we joined in. The class started with basically 20 minutes of pure stretching. Good, deep stretching in which you'd hold stretches for minutes (rather than the nano-seconds I usually do on my own). Then we started with the poses. And I didn't hate it. Actually, I kind of was okay at it.

I can cat.

 I can downward dog (except my butt looks better than hers):

I can cobra, but mostly because it sounds badass to cobra as a verb:
And I enjoyed myself a good Warrior 2 (the best of the Warriors):

I can even Tree Pose. Like a freaking champ. While I was doing it, I was thinking to myself how awesome and yoga-y I looked. Until I fell into a wall. But until that point, I looked very good.

What I liked about this class is that the stuff I showed you as demonstrated by skinny models above was basically as hard as it got. We flowed from position to position and the instructor was very calm and kept saying "without judgement" and "only if you feel like it" and "whatever you are comfortable with." I want her to be my best friend and have her hang out with me all day and basically just provide positive reinforcement to my every move. I feel like she would be good for self esteem. When I'm incredibly wealthy I am going to hire her -- or someone just like her -- to literally just be by my side saying nice things to me in a calm yoga voice.

She also did NOT have us do show-offy stuff like this:
Ow #1:

Ow #2:
It disturbs me that her ribs jut out more than her ass.

The last 15 minutes of class was meditation. Meredith P.T.S. (pre-this morning) would have scoffed in the face of a meditation. I would have giggled and eye-rolled my way through the nonsense. Or I would have attacked the situation much like Jack Donaghy:

"I don't have time for an echo!"

But new Meredith A.T.S. was into it. I closed my eyes and relaxed each body part in turn (even the eye sockets she mentioned...which I felt was a bit graphic and -- no -- I'm not kidding). I listened to my new Best Friend talk about thanks and peace and was overall in a pleasant mood.

I definitely plan on buying more classes. Partly I feel like this would be phenomenal for post-run recovery and stretching. Partly I know it will make me strongly. Mostly I just want to use the bathroom of the spa more. Because, as we all know, change can be good. Especially if it involves fluffy spa towels, free razors, and lovely scented lotions.

So I will know start my life of peaceful calm and spiritual grace. Unless of course I feel like partying like a rockstar the night before, and then all bets are off. I'm training for another Half (I know! I know! Another one!) in May and we'll see how this routine lasts until then.

But wait! The routing gets broken almost immediately because I leave for Costa Rica this Friday! A few girlfriends and I are off for an adventure slash relaxation vacation for 9 days and I couldn't be more excited. Not sure if much "exercise" will happen once I'm there, but I'm bringing running clothes and sneakers. That's really about 90% of the battle, I'd say. Catch you on the flip side :)

Namaste! Cobra warrior OUT!