Traveling never fails to maul my workout routine.
However, that can sometimes be a very good thing, as evidenced by my holiday travels to Florida and Colorado.
In Florida, I ran on the beach, running on decidedly unpacked sand and taking in a gorgeous Gulf view.
I also swam in an incredible outdoor pool near my parents’ house. I’ve avoided breaststroke, my specialty in high school, because it was hurting my hip for a while. But with my ankle being all cranky, it turns out breaststroke kicking is awesome again (butterfly kicking=not so much).
In Colorado, adjusting to high-altitude training left me a wheezing, exhausted mess halfway through my first hill run. I never fail to underestimate how thin the air is there. That’s got to have some benefits now that I’m back at sea level, right?
Better yet, my trip to Colorado let me seriously shake up my lifting routine. My friend Mike is the offensive line coach for a Denver-area football team, and is a former lineman himself. He invited me to come work out with him at the high school’s gym, along with a bunch of his former linemen who are now playing for a few separate D-2 colleges in Colorado. Ummm, yes, please!
Mike took me through his workout, which included power snatches, squats (the kind with a bar, which I found to be an entirely different animal from the ones I’m doing with a medicine ball, a wall and a resistence band now), some stuff with a kettlebell and a few more familiar arm and shoulder exercises. It kicked my butt in the best way possible.
The coolest part: The college players lifting with us did a series of exercises they refer to as “the gauntlet.” You start standing up, with a bar loaded with weights at your feet. You lean down to grab the bar, then roll it in front of you until you’re in push-up position. You do one push up, then roll the bar back to your starting position. Then, you roll it back out and do two push ups. They told me that even the team’s head coach, a former college player who could once squat 600 pounds, couldn’t make it to 10. Clearly, I had to try.
Turns out, the gauntlet of core exercises I’ve been doing for the past several months have paid off: My whole body was shaking by the end, but I made it to 10. Mike looked on proudly, and told the guys, who were standing around watching by that point, that I was pretty hard-core for a little lady. Did it help that my body weight was a whole lot less to lift than theirs? Sure. Am I still pretty proud of myself? Heck, yes!
Finally, shaking up my workout routine made me deeply grateful to return to it when I got home last night. I got back to my apartment at 5:30 p.m. after flying from Denver to Milwaukee to DC. I was drained, both emotionally and physically, after two weeks of holiday travels, but I headed to meet my running group without thinking too hard about it. As always, I’m glad I did. I was stiff and sore and a bit travel-sick, but still managed to crank out 8:30-minute miles through a hilly 5-miler. I alternated between talking about my trip and shutting up and attacking the hills, and went out to dinner at Adega with the gang afterwards.
Plus, in the “you know you’re a running geek when” department, I got to try out the super-cool reflective vest I got as a present!