Short stories from long runs

This blog about my run and training

Hey, funny story. I checked the calendar and realized the New Jersey Half Marathon — you know, the one I signed up for last APRIL laughing about how far away it was — is coming up in nine weeks. Single digits. Ruh-roh.

The good news is that this week is the week. I’m sure of it. Saturday marked four weeks since my fall and, finally, I feel like I’m making some progress towards healing. On each of the last eight days, I’ve doubled down and completed a core challenge workout with Yoga International and, since I haven’t done any concentrated ab work in more than a year (more than a year!!!), I’ve been pretty sore and loving it. The first few days were short 10 or 15 minute routines, then 20 or 30, and now 45. Tonight I think I crank it up to an hour for the last couple of sessions. Almost without realizing it, I am now doing my very own mini-yoga class in my bedroom each night before crashing.

Last night’s class was 45-minutes, so instead of being only a short piece of a vinyasa practice, it made more sense as a short cohesive class. That said, it still felt quite different than any practice I’ve done before. The first 15 minutes were your standard flow, but then only 15 minutes in we moved into savasana. I was totally weirded out.

Savasana? Now?! As I laid on my back in meditative rest, I caught my mind churning and calculating: could the previous flow exercises have really been 30 minutes long?! If so, I was better at focusing than I thought.

Alas. Class was instead broken down into a few segments: vinyasa, savasana, alternate-nostril breathing, and meditation. I hung in there, focused on breathing to reel in my thoughts, and completed the workout all zen’d out. Yes, with all that meditation and funky breathing, it was one of my hippie-r practices.

When I started practicing yoga, I was always mystified when the teacher talked about his or her home yoga and meditation practice. Mostly mystified because I couldn’t imagine it at all. Granted they were teachers (and therefore expert), but how in the world do you string together a workout? How do you stay focused? Wait, so you teach a class and practice your own? Where do you find the time? 

Now, what I’ve had going on the past week or so is a far cry from a home practice, but I’m beginning to see how it could work, especially with the help of videos from Yoga InternationalWanderlust, and other sites like Gaiam TV and (coming soon, but a favorite to follow on Instagram). Since getting out to a yoga studio — and even finding a yoga studio where I feel really at home — is proving difficult, videos and DVDs pose a better-than-nothing alternative.

That said, I do think it’s a “less than” alternative for me. Perhaps with practice or better focus I could really zero in and make it as strong as a drop-in session, but as things stand now, it still doesn’t compare. For one thing, focus. The other night I was following along with my laptop while the Oscars red carpet played (on mute, at least) in the background. When I’m at home, I get into the mindset that there aren’t enough hours in the day, that I have so much to do, whereas at a studio, I’ve already made the commitment to dedicate the time. There’s the challenge of making the choice myself, and then also, the times when Henry wakes up from a nap and everything halts. Both are real.

Another massive advantage of studio practice is the community, which is why yoga has taken such a backseat now that I’m so deeply planted on the South Shore. I’ve lamented before, but I still haven’t found a home. Bringing your workouts into your actual house on the laptop diminishes that sense of community altogether. It’s a plus for convenience and arguably, I think, for solitude, but it is completely and utterly solitary.

For now, it works well enough because anything is better than nothing. With snow drifts taller than I am, slowly healing ribs, and an adorable, but very dependent infant in arms, incorporating challenges like this for the short and long term might just be the most realistic way to go.