Saturday, April 13, 2013

Friendly affair – with Yoga & Pilates

April 22 2012. It’s about 9:30 am on a rainy morning. I’m dragging my tired legs along College Ave of Rutgers Campus and 0.1 mile away from the finish line of Unite Half Marathon.  Surrounded by hundreds of spectators and fans cheering their runner friends and family members to cross the finish line.  I get distracted for a fraction of a second to smile at a cheering volunteer and the next second I find my right foot trip over a pothole. I hear a loud crack and I knew it was trouble.
I limp across the finish line. My right foot was hurting like crazy and even worse was walking on that foot for a mile to get to my car. By the time I got home the pain had worsened and I was freaking out.  Rushed to ER at St.Peters right away.  After couple of X-Rays it was confirmed there was no fracture. It was a bad sprain and doc told me to be stay off running for a month.   After a week of crutches and frustration I started looking at options to do some work out. It was very obvious my legs had no muscle and no strength to handle the amount of miles I was dreaming to run. Swimming felt great but I was feeling guilty of not getting enough workouts.  I had a month before heading to Grand Canyon for the Rim-to-Rim backpacking trip and I knew I had work to do for making that trip happen.
Then I met the Cheryl who owns the lovely “Transcendent Yoga” Studio in Piscataway and vented out my frustration. She smiled and suggested to start taking intro yoga class and made no promise to improve my situation.  I started taking the Yoga class and got used to all the preliminary poses. Dogs, Cobras, Pigeon & Warriors became my friends.  I particularly like the downward dog for the calves and Pigeon pose for mildly stretching the IT band and Hip Flexors.  Three weeks into these classes I was feeling lot more flexible with my movement.  Started slow and short 1-2 mile runs and my feet were not complaining. Cheryl felt I was having too much easy time at intro Yoga class and challenged me to take her Pilates class.  I hesitantly took it up. Class started with 50 pushups followed by Wall Squats, Calf Raises, Bridges, Weights and abdominal workouts.  I was sore for 3 days but kept taking two of these classes per week.  After an year the class now starts with 92 pushups. I do complain and whine a lot in the class especially during abdominal workouts but for some reason I'm still hooked onto it. I’m extremely thankful to my instructors Cheryl and Denise. With their Yoga/Pilates classes I’ve been able to run few more half marathons and also survived my first full marathon last November at Philadelphia without breaking down.  I also did a strenuous but enjoyable Rim-to-Rim backpacking trip at Grand Canyon just a month after that injury. With all the extra mileage towards NJ marathon training I’ve not been able to do justice to Yoga/Pilates and Swimming these last few months.  Hopefully this will be an ongoing affair as I’m really looking forward to get back into training mode after the race on May 5th.