I have been a runner for a long time. Maybe the first year I started running cross-country in high school, I might not have yet identified myself as a runner. I might have still considered myself a soccer player and softball player. But it didn’t take long to make running a part of me. And even though I continued my other sports through most of high school, by the time I graduated, it was running that went with me. I continued to compete in cross-country and track in college. And after college, running went with me onto marriage and kids and family and work. The type of running that I do may have evolved and changed, but it is still a part of me. I still feel like something is missing if I don’t, at the very least, get in a thirty-minute run six days a week. And sometimes, thirty minutes is all I get.
But after all these years, and especially now, in the depths of winter when I am often relegated to the treadmill or to braving the elements in the morning’s frozen darkness, I start to feel stale in my routine. I try to add some simple weightlifting and ab crunches a couple times a week, but it is not enough to get me excited about getting out of bed in the morning. I would love to take some sort of exercise class, to be able to mix things up a bit and work on some different muscles and have some sort of incentive to be there (even if it was just the money spent). However, trying to add more time away from my family, and one more thing on the family schedule, just does not seem feasible.
And then there is the blood pressure. And in contemplating what sort of changes I could possibly make to help lower my blood pressure, I thought of yoga. And then a co-worker mentioned yoga as well. And again, the time issue came up. When in the world would I have time to take a yoga class? But last night, as I started perusing yoga videos on YouTube, I came across this Web site that has free one-hour yoga videos with a new one posted every day. I have never done yoga, but this seemed like it might just be worth a try.
And so, I set my alarm just a little bit earlier this morning. I wasn’t sure how much cardiovascular benefits I would get from yoga, so I didn’t want to give up the run altogether. So, as a warm up, I ran for twenty minutes. I didn’t quite get started early enough to complete the full hour, but I got in forty minutes of the most basic video I could find. And it was HARD. It wasn’t really hard, because the instructor was good and explained everything as she went along. But it really pulled and stretched my muscles way more than I thought it would. And I found myself sweating and tired and my muscles complaining. But it was a good complaining. A complaining that means your muscles are doing something. And the instructor was talked about attitude and being happy to be alive and it was contagious. And I finished my time feeling like I had done something positive.
Of course, that positive energy was quickly squashed as I tried to get three children and myself ready to leave the house this morning. But I have decided that this yoga thing might just be a good part of my routine. I am not giving up running. I don’t think I can do that. But three times a week, I am going to make sure that I can get in a thirty-minute run and then the yoga. Something old and something new. I don’t think it can hurt; okay, it did hurt, but it might just be the change that I needed to regain some focus and keep me getting up in the morning to take care of me.