My running life during the last two weeks could most charitably be labeled “directionless.” After however many weeks training for the Pittsburgh Half Marathon, I’m not sorry about my lack of focus.
The Burlington Marathon Relay two weekends ago was lovely. The race itself could have been a smidge more relay-runner friendly. The focus was clearly on the marathoners (as it should be, to a certain extent) but the rest of us ponied up some serious cash, too. The Fitter Knitter Relay Team, however, brought the party. If by “party,” you mean bacon at 5 a.m., merino socks, and lots of laughs.
Norma, our fearless leader, and I both had PRs for our respective distances. It gives me hope that there may be some speed in these aging legs after all. I’m still a little sad that my leg didn’t have patriotic drag queens. Maybe next year.
Also on my personal running radar this past fortnight was our Girls on the Run 5K. I didn’t coach this year because the day still contains only 24 hours. I did, however, volunteer at registration, which went smoothly despite my first year cluelessness.
And, of course, I had a girl who ran. This is her first year in Girls on Track, which is GOTR for the middle school set. My Tween was thrilled with her performance and is proud she ran more than she walked.
Rather than worry too much about my own pace and mileage right now, I’ve been directing what passes for my laser-like focus on getting stronger. Which means I should finally introduce you to Courtney Place, the woman who has been kicking my arse training-wise for the last few years.
See -- when I decided I’d like to be less spherical, I threw myself on Courtney’s mercy. She’s a trainer at the local YMCA as well as a college professor and mom to two. I’d been going it alone, mostly, with the help of the C25K plan. Once I finished that first 5K, I realized that I needed more direction if I didn’t want to hurt myself.
Given that I do really, really well when given instruction, Courtney and I meet every three months or so to change up my cross-training. Because I am useless when it comes to designing my own weight routines, Courtney designed two for me for this quarter. The first is called “Pure Strength -- Back to Basics,” which revisits old favorites like “Bulgarian Split Squats” and “Superman.”
At our last meeting was last week, Courtney walked me through the other sequence, which is all about functional strength. The exercises have evocative names like “half-kneeling iso core with band” and “stability ball chest fly.” There’s one that I’ve dubbed “hell arch thing.” That name fits so much better than the name it actually has, which I’ve completely forgotten.
By bedtime that first day of functional strength, my arms ceased to function as arms and, instead, hung lifelessly from my torso like two pool noodles. The muscles weren’t sore so much as just done with all of this “being arms” nonsense. By the morning, they operated well enough that I could drink my coffee, which is really all I ask from my arms most days.
I shall say nothing about my posterior. Actually, that’s not true. The next day, my rump and hips and hamstrings felt fine. It was day-two-post-Courtney when that half of my body morphed into the complaint department.
Between the trip to Burlington, which was great fun but not exactly restful, and that session with Courtney, Friday’s six-mile run wasn’t the best run ever. My pace was sad. No matter how much my brain thought “light and quick,” my legs and tush said: nope. After the first two miles, I stopped fighting and decided to just enjoy being out on such a lovely day.
Which is a big leap in maturity for me, it must be noted. Normally, I’d do my best to make myself miserable about how my body wouldn’t do what my brain felt it should. Instead, I had a perfectly lovely run that left me refreshed. Well, as refreshed as I could be under the circumstances.
Soon enough, 13.FUN will start and it will be time to get back in the training groove. For now, though, I’m plan to enjoy my lack of a plan.
Want to join Adrienne Martini in the 13.FUN Challenge? Check it out here.
And more importantly, do you strength train? If so, how do you fit it in?