Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fortitudine vincimus - By endurance we conquer!

I have some specific goals for 2012. Nothing all that earth shattering but I am finding them to be frustratingly that ok word combination? It might be because they have to do with habits and routines. The two things I really really like. First, no coach other than myself. Second, add some sort of restorative workout to my weekly routine. Third, to change up my weight room routine. They seem simple enough but not easy for me to implement. I take pride in the one thing and that's the ability to endure. Once I wrote these goals down I felt the urge to see them through. I knew this would be the case. That is why writing them down was so difficult. I am a dreamer/flounder-er by nature but have taught myself to stay on task. It's not simple to cage the dreamer but ultimately I have found that managing my dreams with the accountant like nature serves me best. When it came time to cement this in writing I knew I had to act on it or suffer my own disappointment. Interestingly this gives more freedom to be successful in all parts of my life.

Goal 1: No coach, uhggg. I thrive on accountability, sad but true. I am not that interesting in what I think! There is no doubt accountability drives me and I love it. Being accountable to myself is not a fire starter. I made this decision because I felt it was time to use what I have learned. Also, I know more than I want to know about how I function and what makes me stronger. I also know a lot about endurance training, I know how to fuel myself through 100M with ease, I know how to manage my pace and mostly I know when I am in good shape. Since I have been coached by Scott, Matt and Howard and followed their plans to letter I have a really good idea of what I need to do and what works for me. I feel it's time to give myself the opportunity to combine all I know to make me better. I can write a great training program but can I follow it?You would think so but it has been extremely challenging. I am incredibly co-dependent on people when it comes to running. I get charged being around people, answering to people and being held accountable to people. I am fortunate to have a solid group of amazing friends to run with. The issue is I want to run with them, whatever their running, all the time. That makes sticking to a plan harder. Nobody is expecting me to adhere to a plan. Also, when I fork out money I plan to get the most for it. I hadn't realized just HOW co-dependent I really am.  It's been good for me but I can't tell you how many times I wanted to re-visit this goal. The year is young so hopefully I can endure, sustain and hold strong. Hopefully I will become an even better runner. Race, by race I will have my answer.

Goal 2: Restorative!, Yuk! Over the last couple of years I have noticed a couple of things. First, I am super tight. My body is just bound up. I roll and try to stretch but not with any regularity. My posture is not great and I look bent and hunched, ick! I cram my days full and the first to go is anything restorative. Fairly regular massage is the only thing that has saved me. I have been super fortunate to escape any serious injuries so far but I felt I was riding a fine line as of late. Not only was I pretty bound up I was shrinking! Oh boy, how does a 5'2" person shrink? My mid back was disappearing and with the additional of MTBing it was become incredibly tight and inflexible. It was also sore often. All of this drove me to give Bikram Yoga a try. Why Bikram? Because of the heat and the length of time you hold a pose! With my very tight muscles I needed the long sustained heat to open up. Adding this was mentally challenging too. I am not a fan of yoga in any form, I am not a heat lover and frankly I don't like to be that

still and quiet. However, I committed to do it 2X per week for 10 weeks then re-evaluate. The first 4 sessions were brutal. I don't sweat when I run at all especially as of late. I have never worn deodorant! I don't sweat and I don't stink, not kidding. Bikram was going to make me sweat and at first my body completely protested. Not only that but I was a total abomination to yoga. I knew it would be bad but I was rather frightened at how inflexible I had become. Also, any static contraction of my lower extremities was a joke. Very eye opening. Speaking of eye opening I learned another thing about myself (just when you think you can't learn anything else).  I never look at myself in the mirror for more than a glance. I was super uncomfortable staring at myself for 90 minutes. The negativity was so oppressive. Finding every flaw and imperfection was not what I expected. Looks like this too is going to be something I NEED to endure! It took me about 3 classes before I decided I had a self image issue and needed to get a handle on. I have never really thought about it until I was forced to reckon with it 2X a week for 90 minutes. I know I am a perfectionist but why couldn't I look at myself? I worked on finding every beautiful thing I could and for the first 3 weeks all I could find was my neck! Pretty sad to say the least. I was very disappointed in myself. I gradually got more opened up in my body and could see huge improvements. It was a tough first 2 weeks though. My body felt like it got hit by a truck and things were poppy and cracking like crazy. I also found some incredible ways to view myself for 90 minutes and eventually began to thrive on the challenge. Finding beauty everywhere and embracing myself with a different more positive outlook. I stuck with my 10 week goal and extended it to 20. It has been almost a miracle. After the 2nd class and my second viewing of my nearly naked body I decided to measure myself from my collar bone to my pelvic bone. I thought I looked very scrunched. I apparently was because I have grown my midsection 1.2 inches! No wonder I was so tight in the back and hips.  Dr. Tollenaar (chiro) constantly says, "wow". Now, I crave it and went from an abomination to an example. Hopefully I will love it in the summer when it's warm out. Right now it's pretty easy to go into that hot room ;) Oh, and I am sweating on my runs now, so weird.

Goal 3: The weight room: I love the weight room and for years have done consistent solid training. Though I have changed up the routines I was feeling over muscled in some areas. I love muscle but I don't like big!  I am tiny person who can put on muscle just by looking at dumb bells (or at least that's how I feel). My body type is very proportionate. I am lucky to have that type. Runners don't need big muscles to run well.  I think there's a balance for sure but I felt I was getting out of balance. In addition, I wasn't loving how I looked. The biggest indicator that I needed to make a change was my inability to move functionally!  I was horrified when I worked out with a trainer who put me through a functional routine and I failed badly! My squats were horrible, Walking lunges just about ripped my legs apart and my shoulders were so tight they wouldn't move more than about 3 inches without hyper extending other body parts. Being tight was one of the major problems so Goal 2 would help with that. However, I was determined to become more functional. I wanted to be quick and agile and not feel like I am going to bust something if I took a wrong step. I also wanted to change my structure some. Instead of 3-4 days a week in the weight room doing dumbbells and loaded bars I was now doing 2X a week. One session of upper body functional work and one day of lower body functional work.  Both challenging and hard. I am very sore but in a different way. I was not a fan of the workouts at first because the pump from lifting was gone. The isolated muscle wasn't sore. Also, mentally I felt like I was letting years of hard work go. I knew I needed to stick with it though. Mainly because I was functionally off! I wanted to remedy that and improve my running. My body alignment was slowly shifting and each week I would be able to perform a bit better. I have lost some mass but I am happier this way as long as I stay lean. Good thing Girl Scout Cookie season is coming to an end. :)

I plan to stay at this for 2012 and see what comes of it.


  1. Ronda, these are awesome goals, and I am certain you will see them through. I understand the whole thing about coach as an accountability thing, and paying the buck to make sure we stick. This is the reason I sign up for the gym (even though lots of things can be done in home setting) and pay for yoga classes (after 15 years practicing and being a certified instructor). It's a new challenge, different and stating we're getting wiser:) I LOVE that you chose Bikram! That mirror starring is tough! But you know what, after 12 years walking into that room with mirrors around, I still have first 10 minutes of a total judgment and hating every nook of my body. Weirdly enough, by mid-way I am completely in love with what I see (and trust me, after last summer's shape I put myself in, today there is nothing to love in comparing). It is that funny adjustment mentally that this is MY body, and it helps me achieve MY goals in life. So, I kind of like it and want to take good care of it:)
    And I'd love for you to share those functional workouts, pretty please!
    Now, last, but not least, I am glad you're back blogging and providing motivation.

  2. Maybe I should start doing yoga so I can be taller!

  3. p.s. saw you running at PacRim - want to know details!