Saturday, April 2, 2011

The art of pacing

Having gotten stronger in the quads, I'm finally able to stand up from a lunge in yoga without help from a chair.

That said, it's still difficult for me to balance, and when an instructor leads us through standing poses, I often think, "Not that again," or "Can't we just lie down already?"

The other night, as we did a long standing sequence, I began to wobble and to struggle to stay upright. Erin often says, "Find the ease and comfort in the pose," and I certainly was not doing that. I guess she noticed, and she brought over the chair. I half thought, "Not that chair again," but I was also grateful for the support.

And when we did Warrior Two, she placed my foreword-facing fingertips on the wall and said, "Use it."

The photo is obviously not me. (I wish it was!) It's just an example of Warrior Two...without the wall, but you get the idea.

I'm trying to draw on this as a reminder not to push so hard. This
goes for other things, not just yoga. I imagine many others have a similar issue. Some have the gift of knowing how to pace; others have to learn it. You want so badly to do what you used to do that you can hurt yourself by pushing too hard. I know I've written this before, and I'm sorry to repeat myself, but it's just that I keep remembering and then forgetting.

I guess that's what happened with my feet. The stupid plantar fasciitis came back, and then ankle and knee pain followed, because I didn't lay the groundwork with stretching and strength training.

On a related topic, running, after going through three pairs of running shoes, I think I finally found the model that Ken Holt (who makes my orthotics) wants me to have. I searched for it frantically after my visit with him Wednesday, because I really need to cover a little distance without pain so I can do at least part of the 10-miler that I'm signed up to run in Philadelphia the first weekend of May with Emily and Tami.

I showed off the shoes to Erin and said that I planned to do a combination of running and walking for about five miles.

She just looked at me. I don't know if I read into her look or not, but I said, "OK, maybe three miles." We'll see; I've been on the bike, but it's not the same thing.

The shoes are a New Balance 461, a "neutral" shoe, which, combined with the orthotics, should keep my feet from pronating. I went to about half a dozen stores and searched on line until I finally found them at Kohl's.

Needless to say, they are cheaper than the collection of higher models on my closet floor. Holt wanted a New Balance below the 600 series; most everyone sells the higher models (like the New Balance 1061s that I had) with "bells and whistles" such as layered soles offering so-called motion control. My orthotics are supposed to take care of that, and the combination in a motion control shoe is too much.

Yesterday I did a run-walk around the lake (1 mile), and today I walked probably a couple of miles with Deb and the dogs and then ran once around the lake.

Once I got going, I found that I had the energy to push a little, but I made myself go really really slowly. Then I went home and stretched and iced. I'm going to have to come up with some kind of training schedule (and also sneak in a little tennis, but not too much).

By the way, my bargain shoes are kind of cute. They're gray with a pink so dark it's close to purple, one of my favorite colors and therefore, as I see it, a good omen.


Cansirboi said...

This is a great blog! I am fighting cancer for the third time and know that it can only be down one step at a time because you never know what the next day will hold.

you can read about my fight with cancer at

if you would like! Thanks for your words of wisdom

Joanna said...

Hi Ronni,

I was not very athletic before cancer treatment (with the exception being tennis), and I have had one heck of a time with yoga post-treatment. My balance is not great and it hurts in places that I think are not supposed to hurt. I am convinced that it ultimately could be helpful. I will try to remember your yoga instructor's advice. Thanks for sharing it.

Hopefully, you can get back on the tennis courts, if you haven't yet...


PJ said...

I use the wall at yoga a lot. It's that or the floor! Enjoy the floaty feeling new sneakers always give!

Nelle said...

You know so much about the shoes. I have one pair which were purchased because they were the only WIDE width I could find. Do you know of a good company that makes wide width all purpose shoes? Years ago I found a pair of Saucony I used for aerobics but they are long gone now. I have a yoga tape that I used to do at home but right now I cannot bend over as I lose my oxygen. Hoping to be able to do that again one day.

Ronni Gordon said...

You could try chair yoga. That's how I started during my first recovery. It has some bending over but it has other things too like stretching from side to side. I got a Rodney Yee tape that I bet you can find on the Internet. Sorry, I don't know anything about wide shoes. Didn't know much about what I needed until I started looking around. Just do an online search for wide width shoes.

Anonymous said...

Runderfull Ronni,

pace, please, swift of foot, i know that you will find the right stride...

On another note, your posting date marks the 10th anniversary of my first of two cancer surgeries...

Here's to Anniversaries! and here's to your Anniversaries as i wrote earlier today to you...
You are a Cancer Survivor-Thriver!
May the Road...rise up to greet thee, in that race-apace...

Ann said...

Physically, you've come so much further than so many. Cut yourself some slack and throttle back a little. You'll be teaching that yoga class before you know it. :) If it makes you feel any better, I had to give up on Zumba after 3 weeks. On top of being naturally clumsy, I constantly felt off balance. After almost falling for the umpteenth time, I realized that it was beyond my ability for the moment.