Running, Yoga and Cross-Training

IMG_3455At yoga on the beach this morning, a woman wearing a Bradenton Running Club shirt caught my attention, since I used to run with the club too, before my books. Afterwards, I asked if she still ran with the club. She said she stopped running years ago after several surgeries. She said the last surgery was to fuse ankle bones together. “All I can do now is yoga and bike. That’s all I can do. I do what I can do.” She said she was 56, 5 years younger than me.

As I took the yoga class, I realized that some of my muscles were so tight that the one and only man in the class had looser hip flexors than I did. I know, you’re not supposed to compare your practice or flexibility with anyone else in the class. But lots of people do. Over the years, I have been more flexible than anyone in class, except the teacher. But staying at the computer, writing, social media, it’s all taken a toll on my back and feet. I have a treadmill under my desk, a thick rubber mat to stand on, all to mix it up as much as possible to stave off injury. A body in motion loves to stay in motion. It is so important to keep up cross-training as a runner, especially.

The woman with the fused ankle told me she had run 9 marathons (on concrete, I’m assuming) and loved running on hard surfaces. Like many runners, she told me she ran faster on streets and had better stability on streets than sand. Yet the message I keep hearing repeatedly from older runners is that soft surfaces are the key to a long running career. Even though sand will slow you down, the uneven surface challenges more muscles for both running and holding yoga poses. The fittest local runner I know over 70, Erma McMullen, runs on the beach 4-5 miles almost every day. She is definitely my role model in running.

For myself and my clients…the goal is to stay fit as long as possible, and to hopefully keep running as long as possible. The former runner’s message came at a time most needed…listen to your body, and do what makes it feel good, better and perform optimally. She told me she had been on the board of the running club, and even held the vice-president position on the executive board, similiar to my running club journey.

anna-maria-island_aerialBiking, weight-training, yoga, swimming…it’s all good. It’s been hard not to run every day, especially since I’ve spent so much of my life doing that. But a stretched muscle is a good running muscle. Strong glutes, quads and hamstrings are crucial for a long running career.

The first photo above is the site of the yoga class near the Sandbar Restaurant onAnna Maria Island, FL. It’s at the northern tip of the island photo.The beaches really do look like this.

I’m lucky to live here, but eat beans and rice most days so I can still afford it. Actually, many people who live here full time (no buildings higher than 3 stories and NO fast food restaurants!) live modestly and scrimp. I bike wherever I can so I only have to fill up my car with gas once a month.

I try to take donation-based yoga classes here on Saturdays and Sundays with Erin is Awesome as she is known on Facebook. wink Her new studio she opened in Bradenton is Thrive Yoga and Fitness. I get nothing for saying this, other than the joy of spreading the news about a great yoga instructor who consistently helps many keep the parts functional.

IMG_3443And here’s my dinner: Lentils with salsa, brown rice topped with sauted portobello mushrooms seasoned with garlic, thyme and turmeric, and a salad.

Namaste and gotta run!