On Friday night, AnnaMae was sitting herself down a bit gingerly, and then explained that she had done a pretty gnarly leg workout, provided of course by her sadistic youngest sister. (Hi Dandy, LOVE YOU!!) Danielle is what I consider to be a professional athlete and fitness expert. She owns a Cross Fit gym in Santa Cruz, was a collegiate water polo player, and was the men’s and women’s water polo team coach (and Fitness Coach!) for UCSC (DM – forgive me if I got any of your credentials wrong). She knows bodies and fitness and sport. So poor AnnaMae had done a routine consisting of 20 squats, 20 push-ups, 20 walking lunges FIVE TIMES. Ow ow ow. It should also be noted that she is in some of the best shape of her adult life and the sore butt certainly is not sidelining her from staying healthy, so actually, I take the pity back.
After last week’s hike/trail run on a portion of the actual race course, I knew that I would need to step up the legs and since I don’t have access to a gym (because Danielle wanted me WEIGHT training… gulp) I knew I’d have to build up more leg and butt strength super fast on my own. So on Saturday, I remembered AnnaMae’s sore ass and had one thought: lunges. As I was about to start Mile 5 of a 5 mile run, I found a nice long stretch of path and started doing walking, deep knee lunges. For about 75 yards. While holding the dogs on their leashes. As it was getting dark. Then I rested for about two minutes. And then I sprinted for about 100 yards and then ran the rest of the way home. Clearly, I had found my glutes.
On Sunday, I knew I needed to keep up the pressure, literally and figuratively kick my own ass, but I only got on the hill at 3PM. I am a very slow starter. (Ha, found you metaphor!) Physically, this is due to my asthma. I use an inhaler before any vigorous exercise like running, hiking or skiing to ward off what is known as stressed-induced asthma. The first part of any workout nearly fells me every time, because getting my breath and heart rate settled is daunting. Basically, the first three miles, or in the case of a steep hill climb, the first 15-20 minutes, I feel and look like most people do at the end of a run, race or workout. The good news is I really get trucking the middle and at the end. My body is all warmed up, my lungs and heart are synched, and I get that mind/body groove going. I had a few of those perfect moments on the climbs where I could hear my brain telling my legs and butt to drive themselves up that hill and they responded like marching Communist soldiers. Then I remembered a conversation I had with a friend in LA a few weeks ago about hiking Runyon Canyon and which route I take. He described his: starting at the top, descending, and ending with the climb back up the steep face, noting that is really good for the legs and butt. I totally clicked on that as my legs and butt crossed over from good shape to race shape. Like I said, slow starter, definitely a late bloomer, but so very earnest.
I will be making frenemies with my foam roller and if I can manage it, finally finding the right damn size plug at the hardware store for my tub so I can soak. Nice to meet you glutes. You are such a pain in the ass.
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