Glute Glory

Good morning!  Yesterday started bright and early because I had to retrieve my dog at 7 am so that my mom could finish up her long run without having to drag along a tired canine.  After we got home, I whipped up a delicious stack of healthy pancakes with fruit, maple syrup, and peanut butter.  Perfect Saturday breakfast 🙂

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Since I didn’t have a run yesterday, I was itching to do something endorphin-y after a morning of chauffeuring my brothers through typical Northern Virginia traffic to their various activities.  So I brainstormed, browsed Pinterest, and came up with a new strength workout to do after a quick 30-minute bike session.

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Yes, I did include stick figure drawings to remind me what some of the exercises were 😉

This workout works the whole core, but especially the glutes.  Sometimes, I feel like runners can get stuck in the 10-minute-ab-circuit trap and forget to work the other parts of their core.  The glutes are especially neglected, even though they are one of the most important muscle groups for efficient form and power in running!  They help stabilize the body, extend the hip, and propel you forward as you run.  Additionally, females have wider hips than males and are therefore more prone to instability and knee and hip problems because we are farther away from that “straight-line” ideal.

See why it’s important to strengthen the glutes?  I promise that this workout will leave your glutes burning.  In the best way.  By the time I got to the side plank leg raises, my body was shaking.

Next post will recap the first week of “summer”!

 

When did cross country become the sport that everyone wants to join?

Yesterday was our first track workout of the season and it certainly was an eye-opener!

I hadn’t really paid attention to the rest of the kids on the team yet this season (bad me, I know) because the varsity team has mostly interacted amongst ourselves and among the other veterans on the team (maybe 20 or 30). So it was definitely time for a reality check. As we were finishing up our daily two-lap warm-up and heading to the stretching circle, a girl in front of me muttered, “there are so many people.” I looked behind me to see… a solid mass of running-clothes-clad teenagers for two hundred meters. Holyyyyyy craaappp.

After stretching, lunges, and wall-sits, Coach told us what our first track workout of the season would be. Sets of 5 min threshold pace, 1 min jog and he’d “pull us off the track when I think you’re done.” I guessed probably five repeats for my normal group of girls (I was right).

We got down to it, and I immediately discovered that running with 10 million kids on the track who don’t really know the meaning of “comfortably hard” = running in lane one, then dodging to lane five, then all the way back past lane one onto the turf and then right through a group of friends running five across in order to keep your pace up. It was the worst experience ever. (Reminds me of my old Girls on the Run 5ks where there would be 50,000 people all starting in the same place.) Also, within five minutes we’d lapped the slowest runners at least twice.

Then, of course, there were those little doe-eyed freshmen who tried to be convenient and helpful and get out of our way. As they heard us coming up behind them (after we’d already mentally mapped out how to get around them), they would dodge dramatically to the side (sometimes turning all the way sideways and running straight out to the sixth or eighth lane)… and directly into us because we were going around them. I appreciate the effort, little James/Jimmy/Joe/Bob, but it would be better if you just stayed where you are.

Finally, Coach started pulling people off the track which cleared up a little bit of space. However, there’s so many of us that it didn’t make that big of a difference to have 20 or 30 kids off the track. And Coach messed up the last two sets so we ended up only doing 4 minutes at threshold pace and 1 minute jog for each of those. It made me a little mad because I felt strong and I had a lot more to give!

Today, Coach told us that there were 110 people on the team. ONE HUNDRED AND TEN!! Out of a school of a little over 2,000, that’s 5 percent of the school! It may not sound like that much, but not a high percentage of the school plays on fall teams. Winter and spring teams are much more popular. Most sports have probably 50 kids. Cross country has 110. And I think I know the reason. Is it because cross country is so freaking fun and everyone wants to put their bodies through pain for an hour and a half every day? I mean, yeah, but…no, that’s probably not the reason a majority of the people joined. Is it because people have seen how much success the girls’ team has had over the past couple years and want bragging rights saying they’re on the most successful girls’ cross country team in school history? Maybe, but our top seven are already determined from last year. Then why is it that there are 40 more people than last year’s team? Because everybody quit field hockey! or wants a bikini body!!!! Seriously. This girl in my grade tweeted a few days ago, “It’s the second day of cross country, why aren’t I skinny yet!??”

KILL YOURSELF PLEASE AND THANK YOU. The point of cross country is not to get a freaking bikini body (although that is a nice lil’ side effect). The point of cross country is to grow mentally and physically stronger and test your limits and learn how to pace yourself and experience a runner’s high and feel exhausted but amazing at the end of a run so that you say to yourself, “Wow. I’m doing things I never thought I could do. I want to continue to do this!!”

Sorry for this extremely long, mildly sarcastic rant of a post. Bye! 🙂