Friday, July 11, 2014

20,000 pageviews and running with the marathon coaches

At some point yesterday I hit 20,000 pageviews on my blog! Kind of a cool milestone. I made some changes a while back to my blog settings, dis-allowing the search feature, which meant you couldn't Google my name and find the blog. This was for privacy - even though it's a public page, you'd really only know about it if I shared about it with you, once removing the "searchable" feature. Well, I decided to add it back; I hope to be able to continue sharing embarrassing moments, race victories, training challenges, and weekly workouts in the hopes that it helps someone.


Yesterday, the Atlanta Track Club Marathon Training coaches met up to review procedures and touch base before the first training run coming up tomorrow. I won't be at the first run, unfortunately, because I am helping with and participating in Troop Trot 39K/10K, so it was nice to meet the coaches I didn't know and put a face with names. My friend Harley coordinated a group run for after the meeting, so five of us (me, Harley, Jessica, Andrew, and Bridget) took off for 6 miles with some daunting clouds in the sky. We felt a few sprinkles, but that didn't stop us. As we kept going, however, the rain got heavier and we were soaked to the bone, but it was fun! We got beer and pizza afterwards - felt like old times on a Thursday night, just with a new cast of characters. I'm looking forward to our long training runs together.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Are you a slave to running?

And no, I don't mean like when you're training for a specific race, like a marathon, half, or ultramarathon, where you have to get some sort of decent mileage under your belt in order to complete the race without falling apart.

I'm talking about the folks that run their little hearts out because they are afraid of what will happen when/if they stop. Or, the folks that get injured then fall apart emotionally because their life will surely end if they can't run anymore. A lot of runners are very tightly wound in this regard.

Hungry Runner Girl wrote about one of the fears of taking a break from running: weight gain. There are a couple ways to address this: (1) through completing other types of exercise (swimming, resistance/weight training, cycling), or (2) if you cannot exercise at all, through participating in a healthy eating plan (which is something good to do all of the time!).

Another fear people often have is that they will lose their release, their stress reliever, if they do not run. Taking a break from the "pressures" of running and allowing yourself time to try other activities can be good stress relief in and of itself. Have you ever thought that perhaps the pressure to achieve in running is counter-intuitive to trying to relieve stress? Sure, you probably feel good after a run, and you probably don't regret it, but how did you feel before the run? Stressed about all the other things you should be doing? Stressed about getting all 10 miles in versus cutting it short to a 6 miler? Before you fall back on running as therapy, reflect on how it might actually contribute to any imbalance you're feeling in life at the moment. Use the time away from running to try activities you've never tried, or to bring back an old hobby that got put on the back burner. Painting, gardening, golf, baking....see if something else gives you enjoyment, so that all your eggs aren't in one basket with running.

Feeling like you HAVE to run is the worst feeling in the world. Feeling like in order to eat you have to run 6 miles or more a day is prison. I've been there. Thank goodness I took a step back and rediscovered some things I missed doing that I used to love. I have even "found" the time to go out on dates! And thank goodness I got past the stress of it before I start school next month. No longer am I a slave to running. I do it because it's good for me and it feels good. When it doesn't feel good, I find something else to do for a little bit then resume when possible. No big deal! Life will go on if I have to switch my schedule up.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

A week in workouts 7/7-13/2014

Note: I'm preemptively posting this so I can't NOT do something :)

Monday: Group Power (shadow-teach) and 1 mile walk with Lexi the dog.

Tuesday: AM - Group Power (teach - ouch) and 3 mile run. PM - Group Centergy and 3 mile run.

Wednesday: planned rest day. Actual: ???

Thursday: Group Power (teach). PM - run 6 miles with Harley after marathon coach meeting!

Friday: R30 and Group Core.

Saturday: Troop Trot 10k!!!

Sunday: Group Power team practice for new music, Group Centergy (teach 2x AND team practice).

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Bad race photos, continued

It's been a while, so for your viewing pleasure I gladly sacrifice my own dignity:

I was trying to catch Dad :) Also, trying to get the ones who went out too fast out of my way. That quad muscle, though.

I get sloppy and heel strike when I run hard.

This one isn't so bad:

Had so much fun this year! Kind of sad it's all over.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Why we don't squat below parallel in Group Power

Someone pointed out to me that group fitness classes do not offer "proper" supervision, that is, the coach-to-participant ratio is like 25:1. Fair enough. That's the point. It's called "group fitness," not personal training. Yes, there are limitations, of course. But having a professionally-developed curriculum in place that utilizes exercise physiology standards addresses this issue.

For squatting in Group Power, we instruct participants to load up a heavy bar, clean it and lift overhead to the top of their back, and drop the hips to no more than parallel with the floor. Knees should stay back behind the toes at all times, and they should track in line with the toes as well, pointed in the same direction.

Why do we instruct this way? Because even though some do have the range of motion available to drop lower than parallel, when you do that, it creates more of a potential problem for the knees, specifically, the knees want to buckle inwards on your way back up to a standing position. This can be monitored and possibly corrected with one-on-one coaching. With a 40 person class going on, without an option for one-on-one coaching, we simply err on the side of caution. The more increased a range of motion is, the higher chance for injury to occur. And no one has ever bashed on our type of workout as being unsafe!

Squatting to parallel is not "cheating" or wrong or anything else the non-educated of the fitness world would lead you to believe. It's still hard and it still works your muscles hard. Just look at my ass. Look at it. I'm giving you permission. It's the fruit of a lot of Group Power squatting.

So, why would someone even assume that an ass-to-grass squat is the only correct way to squat? Because they do CrossFit? Before CrossFit, did they even lift? Like, ever? Do they have a fitness background, professionally?

Same thing with chest presses. In a Group Power, we lower the arms until the elbows are at bench level. We don't drop the bar all the way to the chest. It's a way to prevent overextension injuries. Lunges - we drop the back knees toward the floor but not all the way down to tap the floor, because that just causes bruises to the knees! :)

Now, for other exercises, we require full range of motion. Bicep curls have full lengthening of the arm. Why is this different? Because it's an easy movement to learn that doesn't pose risk to participants. Squats - not quite as easy to master.

Even with supposed 1-on-1 coaching, it's still possible that injuries can occur, as some skeletal structures (specifically women, with our hip/knee alignment ratio being much higher than men's - that whole childbearing years thing...) are simply not designed for full range of motion squats. It's okay to not do them :) You can still be lean and strong! Always remember - if you're not comfortable with something, don't do it! And if something hurts, (in a bad way like joint pain over time) definitely don't do it!!!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Peachtree Road Race 2014: the after-post!

A couple things:

1. Dad and I PR'ed the 10k distance today. He pushed so hard and I'm SUPER proud of him.

After the race at Piedmont Park

2. People are greedy. There were people taking like 10 peaches at the snacks table and I heard they ran out for the later runners. Shame on you if you did. Also, post-race food is for runners, not spectators.

3. People were posting on social media about how they thought it was awful that international runners were not invited as elites to run the race this year. They were saying things like how ATC just did that so that only Americans could win. Well duh, folks. That's because this year the PRR was the USA Track and Field 10k Championship race. It's not because they're being ethnocentric or a-holes or anything. It's USATF. Use google or something.

4. We couldn't have had more perfect weather today. Low temps and low humidity. Atlanta in July!

5. Apparently the race ran out of shirts. ATC will make it right, but I know it's disappointing to those who didn't get to take one home today. Here's the big shirt reveal:
Love the white shirt! For once, the voters picked the right choice out of the five. Awesome design!

6. MARTA did a great job today, too. MARTA selfie (while the train was moving!):

Congrats to everyone and thanks Atlanta Track Club for another great year! And BIG THANKS to God for a beautiful Independence Day!

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A week in workouts 6/30-7/6/2014

Monday: Rest day.

Tuesday: AM - Group Power (teach), 3 mile run with Lexi and Alesa. PM - Group Centergy.

Wednesday: R30.

Thursday: Group Power (teach) and a couple miles of walking to and around the Peachtree expo!

Friday: Peachtree Road Race 10K!!! And lots of walking to and from said 10K.

Saturday: Group Core, R30, Group Power.

Sunday: Group Centergy (teach), hiking to pick blackberries!