They say it takes 21 days to create a habit. I have about 19 runs to go before I create a new one of my own for the betterment of my routine. I feel like there have been a fair amount of bang-ups + hang-ups since this blog's inception. Well - prepare for another.
Early last week on my first real run post Turkey Trot. I went out Monday morning, enjoyed the view of the sun coming up over the Potomac - and all was right. That is until Monday night. I couldn't figure out what had happened to me, all of the sudden I had this painful annoying twinge behind my left knee. It was an obnoxious pang that can best be described as a joint that needed popping, but it wouldn't (nor did I know if popping my knee would be such a good thing).
As I'm making faces and trying to bend and straighten my leg to shake it off - hubster states, "did you stretch today?", and indeed I hadn't so I chose not to answer. See, he and I have this back and forth banter where he thinks he knows things, even things about that with which he does not participate (i.e. - he's not a runner, and as much as I've asked him to run with me, or even power walk our dog with me, he refuses). So therefore I don't take running advice from him. [sidenote: I'm not a moron though - I clearly know the importance of stretching, but he emphatically asserts that's stretching is mandatory both pre and post run, and while I'm sure stretching pre run is fine - we disagree on the mandatory factor. In fact in all the research I've done - i.e. Coach Jenny, former coaches of various sports, and fellow runners, all seem to agree that post running stretching is the more important of the two]. So while I know that I need to stretch after every run, it just hasn't become second nature or part of my automatic routine yet - and well, when it's still dark-thirty and I'm finishing my run and I'm thinking of my day and all that I must do and, oh shoot I'm going to be late for work.....the stretching aspect might slip my mind. But - I wasn't convinced that my twinge was in direct correlation with my lack of stretching.
So the next morning I'm at Equinox with my trainer "T-pain" - complaining of my issue and he's all - did you stretch? And I'm all, "aw cuss - not you too." So he stretched me out really well, so well that I may or may not have been screaming in pain, and I realized just how tight I had gotten.
Before the opening of Equinox, I did two whole glorious months of hot yoga at Down Dog Yoga. Footsy Friend Tess is a lover of Down Dog too - well back when she still lived in the district - *wipes tear*. Down Dog owner, Patty Ivey, was actually an avid marathoner and biker who says yoga "found her" a result of an awful knee injury from running.
During my first two weeks at Down Dog I could see and feel the way yoga was changing my body. My upper body was amazingly stronger because of the planks and chaturangas, my quads got that little muscular indention back because of all of the warriors and lunges, my back and everything else was so much looser, and my innards were being cleansed and rinsed (did you know that yoga did that? because I totally didn't). The benefits are basically immeasurable - and I never expected I would love it so much.
It was such a struggle when Equinox finally opened because I had totally fallen in love with this yoga studio [sidenote: I joined Equinox pre-construction because - hello - that gym is expensive and you gotta know where to find the deals]. I also know that my body needs more than just yoga (this goes back to me being a cross-training addict) to drop lbs. So I joined Equinox - and then about a month later, I joined running. But somewhere along the way - I failed to practice the "balance" that yoga so wonderfully taught me, I was working out by running and cross training in every other way - but I wasn't doing my yoga, nor was I consistently stretching after my runs. Don't get me wrong - Equinox has yoga classes, but they pale in comparison to the Down Dog classes. Sadly - I'm too broke to have both.
There is bookoos of support on how running and yoga go together like peas and carrots. I was uber excited when I found this article, Yoga for Runners, co-written by none other than Baron Baptiste himself (DDY is a Baptiste affiliate studio).
Now for the past four runs since my pang, I've been really diligent about spending a solid 5 to 10 minutes stretching post run, and I've forced myself to get up at dark-thirty two mornings out of the week that I normally wouldn't, to add a yoga class to my schedule. Slowly, I'm learning how to balance it all - all that I love to do, and all that my body really needs, oh yeah - and all the miles I have to run. Probably, for my own personal Zen, I'll return to DDY once a month or so (but ssshh...don't tell my husband because that would require spending an additional $18 - and as I've mentioned before he's tight careful with money. Oh - but he does think stretching is important, so maybe that will help my cause).