Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Welcoming the New Year - whatever it may bring!

Happy New Year!

Like everyone I know I have had so many thoughts for 2014:  things I would like to do, goals I would like to achieve; however, unlike many, I have decided that I am not going to make any unrealistic commitments or set any expectations that will ultimately leave me feeling badly about myself when I can't live up to them.  I'm not going to post a must-hit race PR or dedication to eat only raw orange foods (or whatever the craze of the moment is) only to have to admit publicly 3 weeks down the line that I "failed" already.  Instead, having been through so many challenges in 2013, I am choosing to look at 2014 simply as a clean slate with the resolve to face whatever comes my way with confidence, courage and strength.

2013 is done and gone.  I just looked back and while I knew I hadn't been "here" in a while, I was a bit surprised to find that my last posting was 9 months ago.  That was not my plan, to drop off the radar, and I'm sure that many thought I've disappeared for good (perhaps been glad for it).  Alas, here I am, climbing my way back in so many ways.  Part of the reason behind my absence is because of my injury, which drastically changed 2013 and turned all my plans upside down.  If you didn't know (and maybe were wondering) at the end of April I was hurt in a non-running related incident (this is an important detail as it impacts recovery & rehab).  After several weeks of rest and supplemental work, we determined I was REALLY hurt and I subsequently stopped running and started caring for my hip with the sole goal of being healthy in the long term.  I gave up running for a few months because it was the right thing to do...not the easy thing mind you...but the only way to really guarantee I'd have a long and healthy running career still ahead of me.  Could I have run through the injury and pain?  Sure, people do it all the time. Ultimately though that is never the smart move.  Running (or any physical/athletic pursuit) while hurt doesn't make you strong or impressive.  It doesn't prove anything.  What it does do, however, is put you at risk for further injury and potentially much more serious and long term complications.  So, has not running been easy?  No.  But, contrary to the countless people who told me that if they were me they could never survive if they weren't able to run, I have most surely lived through it.  Not only that, I'm thriving in other ways, and helping assure that I can run for years and years and years - instead of just a few more months in misery.  And while I may be (OK, am definitely!) several pounds heavier with no remaining aerobic capacity, I am in good spirits and positive about my future.

Six weeks ago today I came home from the hospital having had hip surgery to repair damaged cartilage and related complications.  Finally.  There is so much that I planned to say and share about the surgery and recovery and rehab along the way, but better late than never, right?  The last several months, and most especially weeks, have not been a lot of fun for us; however, I have learned a lot about myself, my limits, and have positively reinforced my belief that I made the right decision and took the best actions for me and my circumstances.  I hope too, that perhaps even in some small way, that through this process I've been able to set a good example of how to smartly handle an injury and properly rest, recover, and rehab so you can come back stronger than ever.  Mentally and physically.

While I wasn't able to run today as I hoped, my New Year started off as perfect as can be after a low key evening of fabulous food, family and fun at our cabin.  I am thankful to have spent it with Brian and his parents - who have together been by my side and more amazing and supportive than I could ever deserve - this entire time.  So now 2014 can bring it on.  I hope to have more highs than lows to share with you, but am sure there will be many funny tales as I attempt to regain my fitness...all while life happens.  And so a Happy New Year to all of you - let's do this thing!

To all our good - long term - health and happiness...
 - Shelly

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Debuting the Weekend Core Workout

Welcome to the very first installation of my new Weekend Core Workout & Challenge series!

With the return of our Running 201 classes this past week, I wanted to find a way to further round out the program and help balance the increasing logistical challenges of an ever-growing class size and an increasingly broad range of running experience and capabilities...  This continuous growth and interest in our class is fantastic - almost as incredible as the number of folks that have been coming back to us year after year - but it also means that with a steady 30+ people it's often hard to fill everything we want to within that one hour window on Mondays and Wednesdays.  Add to the time constraints (though we are notorious for running WAY over time!) there are often folks who cannot attend, or are looking for guidance for the rest of the week to compliment our class work.  So, it only seemed natural that I add a weekend workout component...and now here it is!

The plan is that sometime each weekend (Fri/Sat/Sun as my schedule allows) I will post a workout that focuses on the core.  This could be a simple strength routine, or incorporate flexibility or balance - but it will be an easy to do anywhere workout with variations for all ability levels.  Anyone and everyone is welcome to take part...and while no one HAS to do it (as we often say, you are all adults and have free will!), I can guarantee that those who do will reap the rewards and see the positive impact on their running and overall posture, strength and confidence.  There may be challenges or "tests" included along the way to help you measure your progress or identify possible weaknesses or areas that need more attention and focuses.

So, let's get to it!

For this week we are going to start simple, with a modification on my now (almost) famous PS routing.  If you are not familiar with the PS routine don't worry, everything will be explained - but you can also feel free to read up on it in my previous post you can find here.  The PS routine can be done anytime - any day - every day even.  But for today's routine we will change it up a little, and as always I am including different time allowances for beginners, intermediates and advanced.  All you need is a stretch of floor and we're off. 

Here are the moves we will incorporate:
 - Full Prone Plank (Think push up position, strong solid line no butts in the air or sagging hips)
 - Half Prone Plank (Resting on your elbows/forearms instead of hands)
 - Supine Plank (Facing the sky, remember toes dorsal flexed, not pointed & butts UP!)
 - Side Planks (Using whichever arm/leg/foot support works best for YOU)

Now, set your stop watch for either 20, 30, or 40 seconds and let's go:
 - Full Prone Plank
 - Transition directly to a Half Prone Plank
 - Rise directly back up to a Full Prone Plank
 - Rest for one time interval
 - Supine Prone Plank
 - Transition directly to a Side Plank
 - Flip directly to the other Side
 - Rest for one full minute
 - Repeat the above sequence

So, if you are a beginner you will do 20 sec in full plank, 20 sec in half, 20 sec in full, rest 20 sec, 20 sec in supine, 20 sec on one side, 20 sec on the other side, rest for one full min, then repeat.  Got it?  Good.

Now, what if you are not sure how MUCH you can do?  Well, mix it up.  For the first round if you think you are somewhere between the 20 and 30 second intervals, but not quite at the 30 second interval level completely, then do the first set completing 30 second holds, then during the one minute rest re-set your watch to 20 sec, and do the repeat with 20 second holds.  See? Just like that we've customized it...  Remember, the time is less important than your form - we want good, solid, strong holds.  You are competing with no one but yourself, so just focus on how you feel!

So there you have it - our first weekend.  Congratulations on completing it :-)  Every weekend will vary, some will be slight modifications and some will be completely different exercises...and, in the coming weeks, there will be pictures and videos to accompany some moves as well.  Remember I'm always more than happy to take requests, provide alternate options, or answer any questions you may have...so feel free to post a note, or email me directly if you prefer at:  ShellyRuns.

Getting to the CORE of it...
 - Shelly




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Check back again - more to come as the miles go by!