Monday, April 20, 2009

That "Feel Good" Thing

For the last month or so I've been leading a "trail 101" run on Monday nights as part of our work wellness and fitness program (I somehow found myself on the fitness committee about a year ago - how did that happen?? - I blame this). We've had anything up to 8 people show up, but I have a hard core of three guys who have run with me every week because they're training for the 10k version of the Rogue summer series. When we started, they'd never run any kind of trail before and our first 6 mile benchmark loop took around an hour and 10 minutes (and I took all kinds of s%$t for standing at the top of the hills and chuckling - an unfortunate side effect of being evil :-) ).

But it's been amazing to see them take to it and improve week on week. We spent a few weeks hitting every hill I could find in the park, and another week slamming speed interval repeats on some enclosed loops. Tonight we reversed direction and ran the 10k course as a dress rehearsal/final benchmark. A little frustrated at not being able to get a run in this weekend, I decided to push them. So I set a steady pace and kept them to it. It wasn't particularly fast, but I held the same pace on all the uphills. I pushed them just enough that they had to work hard to keep up, but not hard enough that they would bonk before we finished.

We finished the loop in around 55 minutes (according to their watches - I never start mine for these runs) which really surprised them. For me, it was really exhilarating to see them so energized and full of questions. A good workout has that effect, and it's very much an honor and a privilege to share in that.

And I was glad I was able to run out some stiffness in my legs since I did the mother of all leg workouts last night. I shredded yesterday morning and then sat down and realized I was being lazy with my weights workouts. So I crafted my own leg and abs workout that really pushed me. I geared it toward building leg strength for hills, and it included 2-3 sets each of walking weighted lunges with trunk twists, one legged lunges, bridge pose into hamstring curls on the ball, squats and bicep curls combo, side lunges (are you seeing a pattern here) with front raises, deadlifts into lateral raises, bicycle crunches to exhaustion (one of my favorite ab workouts - I can go a long time), side lying leg lifts and butt blasters. Finished it off with a good 2 minutes of plank (deceptively hard). It was one of those workouts that leaves you glowing - your blood is pumping and you can take on the world. Gavin "worked out" with me, though his workout looked a lot more fun - it consisted of taking a run up, diving onto the stability ball, rolling over the top of it and pushing back off the table. Probably a good thing Nancy wasn't here to see it.

He would make a good coach too - "come on daddy, stop hogging the ball. You're going too slow"!!!

And as a bonus I realized this morning that I have the day off tomorrow. So I'm going to head out to Bastrop State Park for a nice run in the pines and to make up for the weekend.

It seems I just feel better when I'm running regularly.

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