I Am That Girl Now

Thursday, August 11, 2005


Believe it or not, I finally got back to yoga last night. By which I mean that in spite of the fact that there is no room to incorporate yoga into my very very packed pre-work schedule and in spite of the fact that I am a lazy ass after work, I put on my shorts and sports bra and unrolled the sticky mat and loaded up the DVD that I'd used back in the beginning.

I haven't done any yoga in over three months, so I wasn't terribly surprised that I'd lost some ground in the flexibility department. What did surprise me is that time spent doing real strength training (as opposed to waving my wee 5-lb weights around and wondering why I had no muscle) has made a whale of a difference in my ability to support myself in odd positions. HOLY SHIT. I can remember doing downward-facing dog and feeling the strain in my arms; last night, though, I supported my own weight on my arms easily and all my concentration was on improving the pose, not on avoiding falling on my face. (I even went one-armed briefly, using the free arm to try to get my delighted cat to stop rubbing up underneath me and sticking his ass in my face.) It's easier for me to sit straight upright with my legs out in front of me because the muscles that hold me there are much stronger than they used to be. And, as an extra bonus delight, when I tucked my toes underneath me and sat back on my heels for a toe stretch, my toes flipped under, no problems, no questions asked. Dude. DUDE. I shrieked in happiness and my Hub, thinking that my break from yoga had led me to injury on my first time back, came running. He was very confused about why I was so happy about my feet (much pointing and babbling didn't help), but happy that I wasn't hurt.

Weights, schmeights. Shifting up the amount of weight that I lift in the morning hadn't really given me a good picture of my improvement. Holding myself up and discovering that new strength, and the added balance that non-trembling muscles give me-- that gave me an instant picture of improvement. Just the way I shifted from pose to pose was so different, I can't explain. Wow, wow, wow.

This also is the first time that I've had a really good sense that I'm doing the right thing by strengthening my tibialis anterior muscles in order to correct the problems with my gait and stance that walking on my toes all those years gave me. It is the right thing to do, by God. I can't get over the sensation of my toes tucking obediently under me; it's the first time in my life that has ever happened. I may become a real live normal girl yet.

I'm also continuing my long struggle toward being able to do actual squats. Seriously, I can't tell you enough that my calves have historically been the only strong muscles in my legs, because they have been doing the work of every other leg muscle. It's not just the TAs; my quads, hamstrings, adductors, and hip flexors have been doing pretty much nothing for most of my life and so I'm having to build those up practically from scratch. It's made actually doing the exercises difficult in most cases. Squats are a big one; I'm only now to the point where I can get my thighs to parallel with the floor, never mind anything past that. I'm working on getting them past that, but my stupid heels still come up off the floor-- and, God help me, I'm still using an exercise ball to roll up and down the wall as I do that. I feel like such a weenie. Still, I'm a lot better than I used to be; on a whim I tried squatting (without weights) out in the middle of the floor, and even though I had to throw my arms forward to keep from falling backward, I actually almost managed to squat. My ass was still a long way from the floor, but it was closer to the floor than ever before, and I could stand up from that, too. Baby steps, yo.

Lunges I still suck at, but that's partly because they're one of the things I had to abandon briefly when I overdid it on my hip flexors last month. (Also, it's not surprising that I suck at them, since they use every muscle that's weak and none of the ones that are strong. Heh.) I'm working them back in and, like everything else, I'm better at them than I used to be. Not great, but better. I'll take what I can get. My main goal at this point is to be strong enough to perform the exercises properly, so that when an angel descends from heaven and gives me the money to have my own gym membership (and, while the angel is at it, a personal trainer) I won't die of shame when I try performing said exercises in public.

I think I need heavier weights. I'm going to postpone getting them, which means that in order to get good use out of the ones I have without stagnating, I'm going to have to shift to exercises that I'm weaker at. Must start making big hints for parents and Hub re: birthday and Christmas.

Incidentally, another cool thing about yoga yesterday was that it gave me a different angle's view of my arms and legs. And, hey, they may not be de-fatted (damn July), but they're certainly better-looking.

I have a race on Saturday. There may or may not be thunderstorms at that point. The heat and humidity will either a) be higher than ever because it's building up to a storm or b) briefly and blessedly lower than normal because a storm has just passed. These days, you never know what we'll get. It's an evening race, too, just to make things even more fun. Oh, and this is the route that gave me such a headache last year; too many runners and too many choke-points. I'm going to study the route map ahead of time and try to plan out what points I should go faster to make up for the unintended rest periods when everyone slows to a walk because the damn bridge only lets two people through abreast. (Not bitter, of course not, why do you ask?) On the up side, I do love this race. It's the Elvis Is Alive 5K, and I plan to load Mojo Nixon's "Elvis Is Everywhere" on my iPod in honor of the occasion, and possibly just put it on loop for the whole race; it's got a good beat and a good tempo for running, so what the hell. People run in full Elvis impersonation get-up, from the seriously done to the styrofoam hair-and-sideburns hat. Beer and peanut butter-and-banana sandwiches are served after, as well as the obligatory Gatorade and bananas and bagels and whatnot. An Elvis impersonator will be the MC and probably sing (my Hub, who was stuck listening to this guy while waiting on me to finish last year, says that he's horrible; I've never actually heard him, so who knows).

I mostly fear the heat. Then again, I've acclimatized to the heat and humidity over the past month and a half, so I suspect I'll do better this time than I did last time. Since I have a day off tomorrow, I'm going to do my run outside (if it's not raining) and see how that goes. I've got nothing else going on and a lot of tiem to myself, so what the hell.

Anyway. That's life at the moment. Food thing is mostly under control because my stupid sinuses are draining like mad and totally ruining my appetite. (So... yay?) And now I must go catch up reading everyone else's blogs.


  • That race sounds fun! I should do it next year!

    By Blogger Nicole-AFW, at 9:47 PM  

  • I think running in the rain is the epitome of a "real" runner. Enjoy the race, and congratulations on the yoga poses:-)

    By Blogger Nikki, at 10:04 AM  

  • Your yoga yarn has made me decide to get my unused Yoga video out and give it a whirl. Who knows, it may just help me calm the old blood pressure down too.

    By Blogger Jules, at 11:24 PM  

  • I'd say take your time with the squats - I wouldn't be concerned about going more than parallel to the floor. I have issues with my knees, so I'm very careful with squats and lunges, I don't do them as deeply as some people.

    I think you'll get better form as your muscles get stronger, but also it's a matter of balancing the weights. I find I'm firmer on my feet when I lean my torso forward a little, and keep the weights out in front of me. If I try to keep my upper body completely vertical, then I tend to go up on my toes.

    By Blogger M@rla, at 7:47 AM  

  • When you talk about squatting in yoga, do you mean this? http://www.yogabasics.com/asana/postures/prayerSquat.html

    Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that it is very common for the heels to rise up, even in people who have practiced for years. One way to make it more comfortable is to tuck a folded blanket under your heels so you can rest in the pose.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 10:54 AM  

  • Just blog hopping!

    By Blogger Wenchy, at 2:05 PM  

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