Work Hard-Train Smart-Play Hard

As I mentioned in my last post I planned to take up my friend Daurie on her offer and take one of her TREAD classes last weekend. Talk about a workout and a half! This is the description of the class: 1 hour small group interval training class with a combination of treadmill based cardio, strength training and Pilates core exercises to provide a total body workout. Trust me when I tell you it is that and then some!
I consider myself to be in shape but this class had me working hard. The instructor is practically teaching two classes at once. The class is limited to 12 students with half on the treadmills and half on the floor with 6 minute intervals and then you switch off. She can have you doing anything from incline on level 20 with a speed of 5 to doing ball planks on the floor. You will WORK! I will be back and possibly arrange something with Baton Rouge Moms to spotlight it since I am a contributor writer and hope to give a chance for a few local moms to come take a class. (Stay tuned)
Last night I went to my second session at Prep Fitness. Jordan put me on a Prep 500 session which was good because I am working on re-learning how to do proper squats, lunges and basic positioning to strengthen my hip flexors and core. It is difficult because you really have to stop and think about each move. Technique is crucial for proper form and I am heavily concentrating on strengthening right now as I am taking a break from long races. I still did a short run before and after class to get my cardio in but I felt pretty good about the session and hoping I progress quickly.

A couple of examples of what I am working on:
Keeping Your Weight in Your Heels for Squats
How to Keep Your Knees Out on Squats
Proper Deadlifts

Developing a stronger core and hip flexors will help me be a stronger runner.
I will still be doing smaller trail/road races that are 6 miles or less but I must get stronger to prevent any more injuries. Work Hard-Train Smart-Play Hard-That is the game plan.

Have you ever had to take a step back from running to get stronger? How did you stay motivated? I think I am going to be signing up for a couple smaller races in April and May to stay on track. Any advice as I am working on Strengthening?
Work Hard-Train Smart-Play Hard

Change is Good!

Last Saturday morning I headed out to Prep Fitness for a Bootcamp class led by Drexel and Daurie. Drexel was doing personal coaching at my gym and recently opened up his own place so I jumped at the opportunity to check it out. I was very impressed by the setup.
His workout moves reminds me of what football players do with heavy concentration on Strengthening so I was completely on board. Since it was a small session joined by just two other ladies I asked both of them to watch my form since I have been having issues with my glutes and hip flexors. For example on Planks I tend to let my hips dip and they made sure to watch me to keep them up since form is crucial. This one hour class had us on our toes with high intensity station workouts. I enjoyed this because you were constantly doing something different. (A whole new meaning to muscle confusion lol) They did a good job with personal instruction as well and modifications when needed. I was definitely worn out after the hour was up and a good soreness set in later so I knew I gave it all on this workout. I can’t wait to go back.
Drexel 1

This weekend I get to try out TREAD a 1 hour small group interval training class with a combination of treadmill based cardio, strength training and Pilates core exercises to provide a total body workout. After that I want to give their “CAMOTREAD” class a try. A bootcamp class with military style strength drills and treadmill based cardio. This one will definitely be up my alley.

Don’t be afraid to change it up and try something new.
What do you do to change up your workout routine?

Taking a breather to refocus

Sometimes you have to take a step back to refocus or just to catch your breath.
Our lives can get so hectic at times. Almost to the point where it gets away from us.
This past week I looked back at old pictures from the past couple of years and realized I have had lots of fun adventures. I have made lots of memories with my family and made lots of new friends along the way. I think its good to take some time to refocus on your life and in the process keeps you grounded. Bart Yasso posted this on Twitter a couple of days ago and it really spoke to me at just the right time.

Very wise man.

Very wise man.

Another post I wanted to share is from:

1st Trail Half Claimed! Q50 style

Finally the day arrived Saturday, March 8th. No rain, blue, sunny skies expected with race temps of 65-70 degrees. This was going to be partly a redemption run for me and part a test of strength. See last June I had signed up to do the Q50 Ultra race at the 5 mile distance but the drive there was an absolute fail read here. Plus the past few weeks I have been dealing with an IT band issue and only been able to run one day a week, no more than 3-4 miles before discomfort hits. I had no intention of canning this race. Pure determination was going to have to get me through those 13 miles and up those hills! Luckily I am pretty determined. My daughter agreed to come and volunteer which I was thrilled. I realized afterwards she had never seen me do a long race plus my only trails were back in 2012 and only 5k in distance. Nothing like what I was going to face today. We picked up my friend Betsy who seemed up for the challenge and we drove the 90+ minutes to the race, parked and started prepping. We got there a little after 8am and the race start would be at 9:30am. The 50 mile Ultra race already started at 7am. They would have to do the same loop we were doing 4 times!! I could not fathom. Our race would also be joined by the Marathoners doing the loop twice, again I did not envy them but I was in awe of both groups. My daughter Alaina quickly went to work as a volunteer helping out in the bag area in the meeting room. Francine and Stephen found us before the race meeting (they would be doing the Half as well). Cesar Torres the Q50 race director was a bundle of energy and excitement. He was making sure all the runners knew what to do and was well prepared for the day ahead. You had to carry a whistle for an emergency, no headphones were allowed, follow the pink & orange ribbons on the course to guide you, carry your own water, absolutely no littering and there would be a couple aid stations on the course. He introduced the inspirational Monique Koll and Arturo Barrios who were today’s guests for the race and then shortly after Cesar led off the kids race. He really likes to get EVERYONE involved and enjoy nature at his Q50 races no matter your level. It’s all about having a good time.

Then it was time. I put my phone away and was ready for what was ahead. My farthest trail run ever and one I was completely unprepared for. Cesar again reminded me no worries, just enjoy. I started towards the back and let the more experienced runners lead the way. The course was well marked as promised and was actually drier than expected considering all of the rain we have had lately. I was told to walk most of the inclines but they seemed to be never ending. There was very few flat areas and some had sand, rocks and tree roots so you had to constantly watch your step. As I made my way mile by mile I was taking in the views and thankful for such a nice day as well as such a scenic route. Once again race adrenalin had kicked in and I was going at a decent pace. I wore my knee brace to keep it in place during this challenging run and took a pain pill at Mile 5. Fortunately Francine gave me some salt around Mile 9 since the temps were warming up a bit and I forgot to pack some. Mile 12 gave me quite a surprise and much needed to get my through to the end. Alaina was there cheering and directing runners. She said I was doing great and didn’t have much farther to go. That got me through the next couple of hills to get towards the finish which Cesar was there waiting. He said “Come on smiling princess, Looking Good!!” and gave me a high 5 as I crossed the Finish at 2:33. I received my finisher prize which was a custom frame (pic below). I retrieved my fresh clothes and shoes from my car to change into before heading to the meeting room for the provided snacks, jambalaya and drinks. Once again I accomplished something I didn’t think possible. I was quite relieved.
My friends did equally as well. Some of the Marathoners had come in by the time we were packing it up to leave around 2pm. I wanted to stay and wait for the Ultra’s to come in but that would be a few more hours. Later in the day I caught the updates and pictures on Facebook. For some it was their first Ultra. They picked a good one to do. Even my daughter said on the way home she would like to go back and do a Trail race there. She asked about their upcoming schedule. You can check it out here. We will definitely be back. I really enjoyed the camaraderie of the runners on the trail. Everyone was cordial and looked out for one another. It was different from what I had experienced with road races. It was a welcome change. The people involved with putting this race together are all remarkable and devoted to putting on a great event. I would highly recommend a Q50 race for anyone interested in trails and a good time.

For race results, photos from this Q50 Ultra race check out their website or on Facebook page under Q50 Races. You can also find pictures by Running Circles Photography on their Facebook page here.

Here are a few of pics from the day:

Such an inviting Start & Finish line

Such an inviting Start & Finish line

Had to get a quick pic with Cesar. "Looking Good, Baby!!"

Had to get a quick pic with Cesar before the race. “Looking Good, Baby!!

Two amazing people. Monique Koll and Arturo Barrios.

Two amazing people Monique Koll and Arturo Barrios.

Kids race complete!

Kids race complete!

op 3 prizes for the various races today.

Top 3 prizes for the various races today.

Thanks Mike Giacona for this pic!

Thanks Mike Giacona for this pic!

Just one of the many scenic paths caught by Melissa Beckley of Running Circles Photography. You really had to run it to see it all. There was so much beauty on this course. Cesar picked a great location to hold this Q50 Ultra race

Just one of the many scenic paths caught by Melissa Beckley of Running Circles Photography. You really had to run it to see it all. There was so much beauty on this course. Cesar picked a great location to hold this Q50 Ultra race

FINISHED!!!!!! Thanks for this AWESOME pic Melissa Beckley of Running Circles Photography. You made my day!

FINISHED!!!!!! Thanks for this AWESOME pic Melissa Beckley of Running Circles Photography. You made my day!

I did it!  I am a Trail Runner!!

I did it! I am a Trail Runner!!

The Half and Full received a  custom 5x7 frame with a map of Boque Chitto and Congratulations note at the bottom. The Ultras received hand carved wooden canes

The Half and Full received a custom 5×7 frame with a map of Boque Chitto and Congratulations note at the bottom. The Ultras received hand carved wooden canes

Now to recover 🙂
Do you prefer road or trail races and Why? I now have the Trail bug and can’t wait to do another.

IT Band strikes again

I last battled this in 2012 and since my Full marathon plus a muddy,challenging 4 miler run to prepare for this Saturday Trail Half Marathon its back with a vengeance.
I have been doing some research with the vast amount of posts on the internet and I went to a new sports doctor last week. Since my Trail half is within the two week window I was not a candidate for a steroid shot. He said I would need two weeks with NO running to get the shot and to start physical therapy. I have had PT before and the copays add up tremendously. I hate to say it but this one will have to be a DIY (do it yourself) recovery unless it gets worse. Even if you do PT and massage I have learned if you do not fix your weakness you will always be at risk for a reoccurence of this particular injury. It is not something you have to live with but you have to be smart about it.
Even though I probably should not be doing this weekends Trail Half (I cant even go 4 miles without being in pain) I have personal reasons as to why I can not bail out so I am going to use KT Tape on my IT Band, wear my knee brace and go Saturday at a slow pace. Even if I have to walk it my goal will just be to finish and not take myself out for the entire spring season. My daughter and step kids have even shown a recent interest in doing a small trail run so I need to be able to stay on the roads.

I recently found a great video demonstrating various hip/glute strengthening exercises. This helps greatly because I have found when you read articles on stretching and strengthening certain points get missed such as to ENGAGE your glutes,do not let your hip pivot, keep your heels together when doing the clamshell excersize etc.
Check it out here: The ITB Rehab Routine – Video Demonstration

I also found a helpful video on YouTube: Hip Openers: Yoga For Runners

Several things have me at a disadvantage such as having a desk job that all you do is sit for hours on end. This is not going to do anything to strengthen your core. Try to take daily mid day walks or utilize the stairs during a break in the day. Warm up those muscles! Watch your posture. Another good point is doing squats, lunges and dead lifts for days wont do anything unless you are engaging the correct muscle groups. Form is everything! Just when you think you are doing everything you can do (foam rolling, icing, cross training) yet again I have learned I have lots to learn. It is quite frustrating but once again I have another finish line to cross this weekend run, walk or crawl!

Q50 Start & Finish Line at Bogue Chitto State Park

Q50 Start & Finish Line at Bogue Chitto State Park this Saturday. Ready for an adventure in the woods.

Wish me luck and feel free to add any advice you may have.