Wednesday, September 28, 2011

BBL 2011-2012 | Try a New Form of Exercise


Why did I include this on my Bucket List?

I used to be a runner. Back in 2006, I ran the Indianapolis Half-Marathon, and was training to run the Chicago Marathon. Sadly, I never made it. My right knee started giving me problems, and I was diagnosed with an over-use injury. I kept at it for a while, but wasn't able to do the distances that I used to do. The last race I ever ran was a 10K in May 2007, which ironically enough was the best race I ever ran.

Training for distance races was literally the hardest thing I have ever done, but also the most rewarding. Nothing in my life has ever brought me the pride that I used to feel when I'd complete a long run, or cross a race finish line. Having to give that up had a huge impact on my life, and I mourned the loss for a very long time. Perhaps in a way, I still do.

The pain in my knee that started back in 2006 has kept me constant company every day since. Some days are worse than others, but it is almost always there. Every doctor and specialist under the sun has been unable to explain the cause of it, and by now I'm so used to it that I notice more when it's not there than when it is.

Unfortunately, whenever I have tried another sport, such as biking or walking, my knee pain kicks back up into the intolerable range and I don't last very long. I know how important exercise is but thus far I've been unable to find one that allows my knee pain to stay in a functional range so that I can continue to do the basic things I need to do every day. I decided to include this on my Bucket List hoping that if I try out enough activities I will eventually find one that I enjoy and am able to do on a regular basis.

Was the experience what I had hoped it would be?

The experience actually turned out better than I had hoped! I found a new form of exercise that did temporarily increase my knee pain, but it hasn't had a lasting effect. Meaning, my knee hurt worse for several hours after completing the exercise, but by the following day it was back to the normal pain level. But even better, I managed to stumble upon a form of exercise that I think could actually take the place of running in my life on many levels. Not in the same way of course, but I think it could bring the same sense of accomplishment and pride when I reached a new milestone.

The details...

So, what is this form of exercise? Bikram Yoga!! If you're not familiar with Bikram Yoga, it is a 90 minute class consisting of a series of 26 postures and 2 breathing exercises, practiced in a room heated to 105°F and 40% humidity.

Kevin and I took a handful of classes back at the beginning of the month before I started work at my new day job.  It takes a while to get used to the heat, and 90 minutes lasts forever! Several of the poses are balancing poses that I can't even come close to doing! But, that's the challenge of it, and what gives me such a sense of pride when I've completed a class and was able to do something that I couldn't do the week before.  I definitely see more Bikram Yoga in my future as soon as I find a studio that has class times that are more compatible with my schedule.

Do you want to see my entire 2011-2012 Bucket List? You can find it here.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. Visit Michele's website at Become a fan of Michele's work on Facebook. Follow Michele's updates on Twitter.


  1. That's really cool you made a bucket list and are actually doing things on it. It's easy to make one - heck, even I have one! But following through with it is a very different experience. Good for you!

    I can empathize about the knee pain. I have a bad hip. After seeing various specialists, it was finally determined that my hip bone apparently didn't form correctly. I imagine one day I'll end up with a hip replacement. For now, I just do what I can and rest it when necessary. And like you, I'm so used to the pain that I notice it more when I don't have it than when I do. Last week it felt like it was popping in and out as I walked and when I sat, it felt like it was pinching. Thankfully it's much better this week.

  2. Thanks, Sprinkles! So far I've had an easy time marking things off of my Bucket List. I just hope that I can continue throughout the rest of the year.

    I'm glad to hear that your hip is feeling better this week. Living with constant pain is no fun. :(

    *Michele Whitacre, Owner*
    Michele Whitacre Photography LLC
    website | facebook |