Yoga for Runners

I just got back from an awesome yoga class at The Green Yogi with Mkunde, our new sixth grade math teacher who just moved to Los Angeles from New York City. We have challenged ourselves to visit a new yoga studio every week until we find a few favorite studios to make our more permanent yoga homes. We have already taken Rudy’s infamous yoga class at Santa Monica Power Yoga and next week I’m thinking about suggesting the Yoga Collective in Venice. I love yoga. I love its ability to help me find a sense of peace, calm and relaxation in moments of challenge. Over the years I have gone through yoga phases where I have practiced three-four times a week, but it typically meant less running time, less husband time after work and less cash. Running is cheap and less of a time commitment. Although I will always be more of a runner than a yogi, I think it is manageable to commit to a studio class once a week. Especially because I think it makes me a stronger runner.

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Much like running, yoga gives me a reflective space.  Yoga poses can be incredibly difficult, but the practice has taught me to remain calm especially when it gets tough. I have learned to embrace the feeling of so desperately wanting to move out of a challenging pose, but instead forcing a smile and moving into the pose more deeply. It is a skill I can translate to my work with students and families. I’m encountered with experiences were I need take a deep breathe and demonstrate self-control and calm on a daily basis.

I also find that a regular practice helps keep my hips healthy so that I can keep running injury free. Yoga strengthens the muscles that prevent me from acquiring ITBS, what killed me at my first marathon back in 2008.

Runner’s World also has an awesome collection of short online yoga classes. They are tailored for us mileage junkies, designed to strengthen our weak muscles that often result in injury. I’ve found them really helpful when I’m traveling. Sitting  on plane, trains and automobiles tightens hips.

A few questions I have for other runners out there. Comment below.
1. How do you balance running and yoga?
2. Do you think a regular yoga practices makes you a better runner?
3. SoCal residents, where do you practice?

 

Oh also, TOTALLY unrelated to yoga, last night I was complaining about my need for a desk and proper work space at school. Amazon reads minds. I woke up this email this morning. Very tempting!

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First Week of School, Done! + Fiery Pesto Sauce Recipe

This week we welcomed our new fifth graders to KIPP Academy of Opportunity. They are a bubbly bunch of kids. Despite their 10,000 questions, we love them and are so happy to have them at our school! This week was busy at school, but I was able to run some unexpected mileage (thanks to my marathon training husband) and  cook some yummy meals. Here’s what happened this week:

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Monday: 5 mile negative split run (7:44, 7:38, 7:35, 7:26, 6:55) It’s fun to challenge yourself to run each mile faster!

Tuesday: 4 mile watchless easy run

Wednesday: 5 miles with Alaina. We ran a minute on and a minute off.

Thursday: Off

Friday: 4 miles with Back on My Feet

Saturday: Santa Monica/Brentwood run with Brianna and Lauren

Sunday: Brent asked me to run his 19 miler with him in preparation for Long Beach. I was nervous to run such a long distance, but how can you say no to your hubbie!? I am the BEST wife. Also, considering my Ragnar leg totals just over a marathon, the mileage probably wasn’t a terrible idea. I feel weird saying this, but the run was fun. We took it nice and slow, talked and enjoying the California beach scenery. Brent is SO ready for his first twenty miler next weekend. I wonder if I’ll be suckered into that one too…Marta, maybe you too? You have some long Ragnar runs…

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I also wanted to share this awesome Fiery Red Pesto Recipe. Brent and I used it as our sauce when we made Italian Sausage, Basil and Tomato Pizza.

Ingredients:

  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 2 big fresh basil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1/3 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil
  • 2 ripe tomatoes, skinned
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup olive oil
Directions:
  • Preheat broiler to high.
  • Place the bell pepper on broiler rack. Turn occasionally to blacken all over. When cooled, peel skin off. Half and remove core and seeds.
  • Place pepper and all other ingredients except the oil in a food processor. Process until smooth then slowly add the oil. Spoon into a jar with a light layer of olive oil. Use within 2 weeks.

Adapted from pizza, calzone and focaccia. 

Enjoy your week!

Arroyo Creek Half Marathon and 5K Race Review

This morning Brent and I drove to Simi Valley in Ventura County to run the half marathon and 5K at Arroyo Creek. Brent grew up in Thousand Oaks and spent years swimming at the Rancho Simi Community Park where the race started. For him it was a trip down memory lane. Brent ran the half as a training run for the Long Beach Marathon. He hasn’t run a marathon since 2009, and has never trained for a full properly. I distinctly remember Brent telling me a few years back, “I’ll never run more than 8 miles again in my life.” Never say never. Brent has been intense about running his mid-week and weekend long runs. The work paid off this morning. Brent had an incredible race, finishing in 1:45 with an 8:02 pace.

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Brent’s 1/2 Marathon Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • Mostly flat course
  • Not too crowded, don’t have to wade through a puzzle of people
  • Aid stations every 2 miles
  • Easy parking, can walk from your car to start line immediately
Cons:
  •  Pacers ran 15-20 seconds faster than goal pace.
  • Not particularly organized, markers were hard to follow.photo 2 (13)

I ran the 5K while Brent was off running the half and was a little nervous to see how much speed I’d lost over the summer. I had trouble getting a good pace during the race with an awkward 1/2 way turnaround and a rocky path but was pleasantly surprised with a 19:58 finish. I was the first overall female (I think all the fasties were running the 1/2) but was happy with my prize of a beach chair! I love racing, and I love that when you run 5Ks, 10Ks and 1/2 marathons you can race more often.

Cristina’s 5K Pros and Cons

Pros:

  • We parked 20 meters from the start
  • Simi Valley is beautiful!
  • The race had a community feel. That’s my style.
  • You can pick up race gear morning of the race

Cons:

  • Dirt/rocky path made it hard to get a good rhythm
  •  Not enough signage directing 5K vs. half marathon
  • Water was not ready at the finish, and it was already hot at 8AM!

Other things that happened this week

At school we planned for our first day of school, which is TOMORROW!!!!

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Gisele, Joe and I ran an easy 2.5 earlier this week.

 

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I wish. I drove down to Long Beach for AREC’s track workout. I LOVE AREC. I wish I lived closer to Long Beach so I could get more involved.

On Thursday Ellen and Brianna drove down to Playa for an early morning six miler. I love starting my day with my running BFFs!

I got my FIRST fancy haircut at Planet Salon in West Hollywood. Head massage and all. Cory was awesome. Thanks for the recommendation, Ma’ayan. No more Supercuts for me! photo 1 (11)

Brent and I went back to The Tripel after more than six weeks away. Along with our regular Pretzel Burger, we sampled two new menu items!

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Grilled Squid Salad with Stone Fruit, Avocado and Sweet Chili Vinaigrette

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Watermelon & Strawberry Greek Salad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have a great week!