Do opposites attract?
In the world of human relationships, this is highly debatable. For every example of two very different people who have fallen madly in love and stayed together, there is a counterexample, either of two very similar people who have had the same success as a couple or of two opposites that have damn near killed each other. When it comes to exercise, however, I’m going to say that opposites do attract. Running and yoga are a match made in heaven, and I dub them the Power Couple of Exercise.
In the world of exercise, they are Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie; David and Victoria Beckham; Beyonce and Jay-Z. You get the drift.
This is the first week that I’ve done both running and yoga, and I feel amazing. The repetitive, fast motion of running is nicely counteracted by holding a yoga pose. Yoga forces me to use those tiny little muscles that help with balance, and it forces me to stretch things, like my hips, that I tend to avoid stretching because they are so impossibly inflexible. Running gives me a cardiovascular workout and satisfies my need for quick movement. I feel like my running will benefit greatly from doing yoga, and with the exception of flexibility, I believe running helps me with yoga as well. If nothing else, I’m not afraid of experiencing discomfort for prolonged periods of time, which is definitely a trait of a distance runner. In any case, I’m looking forward to having both of these activities in my life from here on out.
Now that I’ve proselytized about running and yoga as a combo, I have to address some details about each.
I’d like to renege my comments about this non-Bikram studio not being hot enough; I’ve gone to the same studio twice since that first time, and both subsequent times have been much warmer. The temperature of the room still isn’t Bikram hot, but as mentioned before, I think this is better for me in the long run. I left the studio today with the same feeling of rebirth that I felt at the Bikram studio, but without the fear of getting (or having) a dehydration headache. This is not to say that Bikram isn’t the perfect practice for some people, but like most things, I believe the ‘right’ thing is a highly individual matter.
With this new studio, I am reminded of a lesson I learned at the Bikram studio, which is that the classes can really vary from instructor to instructor. And I love the variety. Today, for example, we ended up doing poses that were almost all familiar to me, but the transitions between them were different from what I had done in the past. It was cool, and it kept me interested. Maybe the most awesome thing about this particular studio is that the instructors have a lot to say in the way of modifications for each of the more advanced poses, so I never feel at risk of hurting myself. I find that with my tight-as-a-bow hips and shoulders, often the very lowest level of a pose will be sufficient for me to feel it working. But, I can feel myself improving and I’m encouraged by that.
As for running, I’ve gone twice so far this week and the second time, I went with these new minimalist shoes:
I haven’t been particularly drawn or opposed to the concept of minimalist shoes, but I’ve slowly started to realize something about myself in terms of running footwear; that is, I like my shoes like I like my drinks: stiff. I like my Mizuno Wave Rider 15’s more than the 16’s because the older version seems to have less mid-foot flexibility and stiffer upper fabric. I like the cushioning in my gait to come from my foot and ankle, not from padding or malleability of my shoe. I tried on a few different types of traditional running shoes and all-the-rage minimalist shoes, and I ended up liking the Brooks Pure Connect 2’s because of their rigidity and their arch support. My arches have never felt so loved. They also happen to be very lightweight and GREY, which is, without joking, my favorite color.
Funny side story: every time Lina and I are together and look at exercise clothing, she fawns over everything neon and I get sucked immediately to the black/grey stuff. Without fail. It’s kind of hilarious.
Anyways, these Brooks shoes that I ended up liking are classified as ‘minimalist’ shoes, and I’m content to give them a whirl. I plan to alternate them with my current traditional shoes (like any good runner would do when making the switch!), but they were really great for my 3 miler yesterday. At my somewhat underwhelming doctor’s appointment on Monday, I was told that I am a light under pronator (or supinator), and for whatever reason these shoes seem to help me land and push off more centrally.
I naturally came home after buying them and scoured the internet for reviews about these shoes (yayyyy obsession…), and the single most encouraging one came from a woman that said these shoes basically cured her running-related knee pain. Even if they don’t cure my leg and foot problems, I’ll be happy with them simply not aggravating them. I do, however, feel encouraged because I don’t have ANY peroneal tendon or IT band pain today, and this is a change from how I felt after my first run this week.
As far as that doctor’s appointment is concerned, I wasn’t told anything new, but got out of it that all my thoughts about my gait and my approach to injury treatment/prevention were correct, as well as the assurance that I will be okay to train for the Chicago marathon as long as I am conservative. I also got a prescription for physical therapy, and tomorrow I go in for my first appointment. News about that in the next post.