18663 Ventura Blvd, Suite 202, Tarzana CA 91356

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

I Don't Love Yoga...

....but I've come to accept its role in my training.

Many yoga classes have made me feel self-conscious about my lack of balance and coordination.  I'm the one who tries to get into Tree Pose and then falls over.  And, while once in my life I was the girl on the high school cheerleading squad who could jump into the splits, I lack that flexibility as an adult triathlete.

Coach Gerardo typically puts yoga on my training schedule once a week.  At the studio that I attend, Black Dog Yoga, I've found three yoga classes that I can appreciate:

Restorative Yoga -- I like to think of this class as "Glorified Nap Time".  This is an hour and a half of chill music and poses held for several minutes at a time while supported by bolsters and blocks.  It's incredibly relaxing, and is great stretching after a weekend of long, challenging workouts.  The only down-side of the class is the jazz-skat version of "Smoke on the Water" that makes me want to slit my wrists.  But, at the end of this class, I feel refreshed, relaxed, and less sore than I did walking in.

Deep Stretch Yoga -- Various stretches, often uncomfortable, especially after a long week of training.  The Friday evening class definitely helps recovery.  I'm always in awe and amused to see the instructor twist herself into a pretzel while I'm definitely struggling doing just a quarter of the given stretch.

Basic Flow -- A beginner class that caters to all levels.  Monday evening tends to be a good time to recover from the weekend's workouts.  I like the spin that the instructor takes on the poses, her stories, and the level of comfort that she provides to those of us who aren't yogis.  I never feel self conscious here.

But yoga does something else cool.  It can take me out of my head.  Now, I don't mean this in some sort of crazy supernatural sense.  I'm rather type A (cardiologist, triathlete, vegan... no, really?).  I have my lists.  I have plenty of internal chatter in my head, things to do, issues to solve.  Sometimes, yoga helps turn that chatter off.  And, with that peace, every so often, something that was previously burdening me becomes clear.

That happened to me yesterday evening in my Basic Flow class.  Even while on call, with my cell phone clandestinely in silent mode poking out from under my mat, I felt a certain clarity.  That clarity helped me make a decision today, and with that I am relieved of a stressor that was burdening my mind.

I will never be a yogi.  I will never love yoga.  But, I've come to recognize what it can do for me as an athlete.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Hazards of the Sport

All sports have risks.

I've had a few mishaps in the past couple years.  I've been bitten by a dog while running.  I've done my share of tripping and falling on trails, and I have the scars on my knees to prove it.  And I've been nailed by some serious waves in the ocean that have slammed me to the ocean floor and sprained my shoulder, leaving me with ears full of sand and a new fear and respect for the ocean.

But, a recent incident has made me think pretty hard about the dangers that triathlon training poses.

On Saturday, a 36 year-old woman was killed while riding her bike on PCH in Malibu.  The full story is here.

She was reportedly out for a training ride on Saturday afternoon on PCH at Puerco Canyon Road, which is near Pepperdine University.  She was passed by some trucks, caught her handlebar on a parked car, which led her to veer into a bus.  She was then dragged under the bus.

Now, this wasn't a particularly treacherous stretch of PCH.  It's a piece of PCH that I have ridden dozens of times, never feeling particularly unsafe.

What to do..... do we stop riding completely and resort to a life of spin classes and sitting on the bike trainer?  Stick with riding on PCH to the west of Trancas Road, where there is far less traffic?  Or just recognize there are hazards and do our best to be cautious?

I don't know.  Even though I didn't know her, the triathlon community is small enough that one of my teammates was a friend of hers.  This definitely hits home and I know this easily could have been me.