Thursday, May 19, 2011

Stretching is Not a Workout

Yoga isn't exercise.

Yes, I know it works your core and all those planks can really get the upper arms trembling. But seriously. It's stretching, with intention. And those young yoga instructors in spaghetti-strap tops and no bras because they're vegan and never got boobs, they look fit.

But yoga is not exercise.

Before I go any further, I will give credit to those pals who do Bikram yoga. Yes, the hot class makes you sweat a lot, which makes it hard and exercise-like.

So I've been going a yoga class here and there since the marathon, mostly to differentiate my exercise routine. The problem is, yoga doesn't make me tired.

I've been trying different instructors to see if it's a personality conflict. The guy who told me to breathe through my neck was a dud, but tonight's instructor (who was hanging upside down from some ropes like a bat when I walked into class) was fun. Still, after 90 minutes with either teacher -- or any of the other ones for that matter -- I don't feel like I got a workout.

I do feel stretched. Oh yeah. We opened our hips and elongated our necks like nobody's business tonight. I'm stoked about that because my right hip is still a little tweaked. But, as an aside here, my personal trainer/brother recently told me stretching is useless ... directly after which he said the look on my face gave the impression he killed my puppy.

Point is, after 90 minutes of "exercise" -- 80, if you take out the time we nap at the end -- tonight I'm not tired. Heck, I'm not even relaxed because I'm so frustrated that I didn't get a workout in.

At least I went for a 5-ish mile barefoot beach run this morning.

Monday, May 2, 2011


Woot-woot! I ran a sub-4 hour marathon, FINALLY!

Yes, the Eugene Marathon was great.

Running in my hometown has so many benefits. Yes, I'm from Springfield (sort of Eugene's ugly stepsister) but the race course wends from the campus area of Eugene, along the bike path and into Springfield for a couple miles. Then it heads out past Autzen Stadium (Go Ducks!) and onward to the finish at UO's storied Hayward Field.

So getting under the 4-hour mark was monumental, but there was much more made this race — marathon No. 8 — awesome. It all relates back to having home field advantage.

• My parents were my race support, driving my sister and I to the start and then appearing several times on the course to cheer us on. (Audrey ran the half.)
• Miles 10-15 were on turf I've run a zillion times, starting around age 11. This was especially helpful when looking for a spot in the woods for a quick bathroom break. (Ucky porta-potties!)
• My brother and his wife, Erica, live a few blocks off the course, so they walked down with their doggies to cheer me on.
• In a super-lucky moment, a high school running buddy who lives on the race course made a "Go Squires" sign and was out with her whole family to cheer racers on. Huge boost having her there! Thanks to (another) Erika!

Perhaps the coolest part of being here with family and friends was having my sister race with me. Audrey ran the half marathon and clocked a 12.5-minute PR (1:29 and some change) with her pacer buddy. After her awesome race, the kiddo changed her clothes and shoes, then popped out onto the course to run me in to the finish. She shuffled along for my last two miles, telling me nice things and making me run faster.

We crossed the finish line together. Super cool!

Final time: 3:56:52. Even the gun time was under 4 hours, something around 3:58:30. My overall pace was 9:03, but for the first 20 miles I averaged sub-8:50 miles. I was 1073 out of 2291 racers, including 75th in my division, which had 178 women in it.

Oh, and don't miss the neat arm warmers I picked up at the race expo. Flowers, but almost a Dia de Los Muertos motif, made by Run Pretty Far. The waist pack (for Gu or a cell phone) rocks too. Dad loves the camo and it was great during the race, not bouncy at all. It's a SPIbelt, check it out.

What are you searching for?

"So be prepared to quit. Do it willingly and with honest resolve. You'll be back. The marvelous thing about running is that you will never become jaded by it. Boredom, injury or anguish may overtake you from time to time, but the reward that first drew you to begin logging the miles remain untarnished and available -- always. Just put on your shoes and head out the door."