Friday, October 22, 2010

A Whole Lotta New

After my marathon, Danni posted a comment suggesting the FIRST running program. I gave it some thought because she's right - I am truly injury prone. But, only running three workouts per week conflicts with something else; I'll get to that in a minute. Thankfully, the comment did get me motivated to try a variety of running alternatives to see what works for me. It's about time cuz I'm getting old! I've learned a lot and you can now consider me a convert to cross training.

What I tried: swimming laps, elliptical, stationary bike, mountain bike, yoga (gasp), ballet barre, strength training

What I learned: I really liked swimming, but I don't want to pay for a gym membership and the schedule didn't really work for me. The elliptical was ok but again - gym membership and I can't afford to buy one. Stationary bike...snooze. The ballet barre was of course familiar and I really wanted it to work, but it's too hard on my earlier in life injuries.

What worked: Mountain biking!!! It's sooo hard especially with the trails around here. I'm bruised and battered but love it so. I go by myself or Steve and Buddy hike while I learn to navigate the terrain. I'm getting the hang of uphill, but the downhill is scary-especially coming around the switchback curves.

The biggest surprise: YOGA! I'd taken classes in the past, but - this may sound very silly - I could not handle the breathy, annoying voices of the instructors and their endless commentary like "soften the eyes." What's that about anyway? However, I got lucky with my choice of purchased DVDs and can't get enough of it. In just two weeks, I can tell a big difference in muscle tone, strength and flexibility. My nagging Achilles and IT band soreness has really improved as well. I really like the power yoga, but am finding I also like PM yoga workouts which focus more on breathing and stretching. I still incorporate some free weights, single leg lunges, etc. but really the yoga takes care of a lot.

I'm also excited about another something new - the thing that conflicts with the FIRST running idea. Towards the end of summer, I was talking to a friend about women who run but feel too slow to join a running group. One thought led to another and pretty soon a women's running group was formed; one especially for new runners, those returning to running, and people who just want to get together, socialize in a healthy way and motivate each other. We've now been running twice a week for almost two months and I am completely blown away by how it's taken off. These women are working hard and they are getting faster! Mostly though, I just love listening to their conversations; realizing how important those two scheduled times have become. I love being a part of it and look forward to seeing people each week who inspire me.

So that's it. Like I said, a whole lotta new and a whole lotta fun!!!


Jo Lynn said...

That running group sounds incredible. That would be pefect for me, once I am cleared to start running again. I have learned to love yoga too, and Pilates. It's so good to spend that time stretching because as you know, as runners, we aren't very good at doing that. ;)

Anne said...

I started "liking" yoga a little over a year ago...thanks to a great instructor (none of the soften the eyes comments :)).

Love the idea of such a cool running group!

Mountain biking scare the crapola out of me :) ...brave woman

Ewa said...

I would love to do more mountain biking if not for the downhill sections. I can suffer going up and even enjoy it but going down... no way.

Kim said...

I love to mountain bike but can't afford one at this point so am envious of your choice of cross training as I am one of those gym rats that has to suffer with cross training there because I too am prone to injuries.

I have a love/hate relationship w/ yoga. I love it because I really do feel better when I do it and I find all of the ailments I have from running go away, but I hate it as I am hyper active by nature and I find I don't have the patience for it. Going to aim for at least twice a week again and hope I stick w/ it this time!

Danni said...

The cross-training will do you wonders without injuring you and the slow womens' group won't do you any harm either - just maybe try doing one tempo run a week or something :-)

Martin said...

Hey, Iris,

Interesting post. My advice to the more injury prone runners I know is to try the barefoot running thing (Vibram Five Fingers, etc). My theory is that if you get your feet behaving properly then everything else will adjust, and running barefoot will force your feet into the proper mechanics. Just my theory.

Mtn biking is good. I wish I did more of it. My running has gone so well this year that I can go out and run myself into the trail so thoroughly that there's nothing left for the bike.

Yoga is really good, too. I have my morning routine that includes yoga and various core strength oriented things. I think the best yoga poses for running (and especially trail running) are the balance poses (tree pose, etc).

The running group sounds great. You should suggest a relay effort at the upcoming HURL Fat Ass 50K (1/15/11). We're always looking for new victi-- uh, I mean, *participants*! ;^)

Iris said...

I think I need a guest blog speaker to tell us all how to ride downhill!!!

Wish you were all here to join the women's group - it's so much fun. Martin, we'd probably let ya in if you showed up in a skirt or something. :)
As for the barefoot running, I am intrigued...we'll see.

Iris said...

Oh, and Martin - great idea about the Fat Ass. I'm definitely in and I'm sure I can rope in some others. Which weekend is it going to be?

Martin said...

Hey, Iris, if I showed up in a skirt, I think it would signify the total disintegration of western culture. I don't want to be responsible for that!

You're relay team is on for the Fat Ass on January 15. Let your team know that there aren't set distances for the relay legs. If 4 of them want to run a mile each and leave 27 miles for you, that would be very appropriate.