Adventures in Cross Training

So far everything I’ve read suggests that cross training is a crucial part of running.  Apparently, if you run too often you’ll get injured (ouch!).  And if you run too little, you’ll get injured (double ouch!).  So it’s important to run just enough and find something else to do in between.  Weight training they say is best, but that generally requires a membership, and you all know how I feel about that (see “Running Scared”) or equipment that requires space I just don’t have.  So I thought why not try a yoga class!  It’s kind of a workout, right? AND there’s all that lovely music and infinite opportunities to lie down!   ( I LOVE the lying down parts). But in the interest of making it a real workout, I thought why not make it HOT YOGA!

For a better idea of what Hot Yoga is, go to your oven. Turn it on to say… 450 degrees. Open the door. Get inside.  And proceed to strike a series of yoga poses for 90 minutes!  THAT, in a nutshell is hot yoga!  When you walk into the room, the heat just  SMACKS  you in the face.  Mind you, they hadn’t even turned on the ovens yet.  My little pink workout ensemble, which seemed like a really good idea at the time, was getting a little sticky, but I didn’t panic.  The class begins and the ovens come on (yes, I know they weren’t actual ovens, but whose story is this anyway, huh?).  Now from where I was, I couldn’t see the thermometer, but all said, I was told the room got up to a stifling 105 degrees with 50% humidity.  It was essentially August on the Equator in that room and I paid to be there!  Our “Instructor” enters the class and politely tells us new kids that she will NOT be demonstrating the poses but will be rattling them off at break neck speed (thus the name INSTRUCTOR) and if we get stuck, look around the room for someone who looks like they might know what they’re doing.


And so it begins.  I promise you not five minutes into this thing, I notice the lady in front of me has sweat pouring down her ankles. I’m thinking, “Eww! Whose ankles sweat?” HELLO! Apparently mine do, because not two seconds later when I went to touch my toes, I saw my own line of ankle sweat.  And that ain’t all that was sweating!  But I stay the course!  I continued to participate, because let’s face it, I was there and I needed the material for the blog!

With every movement I could feel the sweat pouring off of me. And had there not been a towel under me to lay witness, I would never have believed it myself.  All done, that towel contained the sweat equivalent of a toddler. I sweated a two year old!  And this is all in the first 30 minutes! My little pink ensemble is now sticking to me and rolling up my body like a shade!  I’m looking more and more like a pink dumpling as time goes on. So now I’m not only drenched, I’m super self conscious. But we get through it!  After 90 minutes in hell (because that’s what it felt like), class ends and we stumble out and to the showers.

By the time I got home, hot yog had started to settle in. I felt like I’d run two marathons through the Mojave desert at high noon. I had just enough strength to shower (again) and inhale dinner (literally) before I had to lie down. Folks, it was 8:45 pm and still partially light out when I laid down. I did not get up again until 4:45 am the next day!  I have never slept so deeply and so soundly in my entire life!  

Now most of you don’t know this about me, (hell none of you do, who am I kidding?) but I carry a lot of stress and tension in my upper shoulders and neck area. This makes it nearly impossible to truly relax, which interferes with my breathing during runs.  Not after a day of hot yoga! I ran without ANY of the usual breathing issues. In fact, I think I had more energy than I’ve ever had on my Saturday morning runs. My legs gave out much sooner than my lungs did this week! (Trust me, that’s a good thing here)

So what’s my assessment?  Was it the 50 hours of sleep after self inflicted heat exhaustion that made the difference? Or was it the healing benefits of yoga in a sweltering room?  Who knows. But if for no other reason than the sleep, I still have a week long pass to check it out ONE more time to see if there’s really anything to it.

Any takers?

(Shout out to Camille Rice for taking on Hot Yoga with me.  Thanks for being a good sport in spite of it all!)

%d bloggers like this: