Thursday, January 8, 2015

Detroit Tough - Why I Love My Gym

It's about time I get down to writing a post about my favorite gym - Detroit Tough.  Although these days, Detroit Tough isn't just my favorite gym.  It's pretty much my favorite place.  It's where I go to find inspiration, healing, and peace.  Yes, peace among the smashing weights, loud yelling, and Slayer music blaring in the background.  Somehow I feel calm there.  It's my happy place.  My home away from home.

I started going in November and working with Coach Terra Castro, a former professional Triathlete.  She is an all-around amazing person and came into my life at just the right time.  She launched the Detroit Tough Endurance Program in November, which includes Run, Bike, and Swim classes.  I haven't attended any of these classes yet but am looking forward to doing so in the coming months, once I'm healed up. 

Also part of the program is my favorite class - Detroit Tough Mechanics.  It's an injury prevention/rehab class that targets mobility, body mechanics, strength, and balance.  As Coach Terra says, "we need to focus on the little details to keep our engine running properly."  

For me, this class has been key with my hamstring injury - both mentally and physically.  It has been better than any PT I've received.  We do band work (clams, monster walks, squats).  We use balance balls (hamstring curls, leg extensions, Supermans).  We use medicine balls (wall ball, Russian twists.)  She has us using the TRX system, lifting kettle bells, and using boxes for mobility drills.  One day we even got to beat the crap out of a punching bag with a baseball bat.  It's never the same class twice and it's always awesome.  

Coach Terra is kind, gentle, and understanding of what it's like to be injured.  She's been a lifesaver!  She will, however, push you to your limit.  We've done 5-minute planks.  100 calf raises per leg.  100 sit ups.  No whining, no excuses.  And I love her for it.  Nothing ever hurts my hamstring when I'm there.  She makes sure of it.  

Here are a few of the exercises we do in Mechanics.  (Photos courtesy of Coaches Terra and Roger.)

 Strength - Wall ball.  Squat and throw against the wall. It's harder than it looks!

Mobility - Under and over.  Knock one down and it's a 5-minute plank penalty.

Balance - Bird dogs with PVC.  Keep the hips stable or the pipe falls (5 push-up penalty).

Movement prep - Great rehab for my hamstring; also great for non-injured runners too!

Therapy - I wrote "hammy" on the bag and beat the crap out of it.  It felt amazing.

I'm looking forward to my hamstring being healed so I can take advantage of the rest of the Detroit Endurance Program, along with more of the classes that the gym has to offer. I'm especially excited to do Coach Roger's Detroit Tough class.  I actually did it once when Coach Terra and Coach Roger teamed up and combined their classes.  It was the most challenging boot camp-style class I've ever taken - and it didn't even involve pushing football sleds, tractor tires, or climbing walls like it usually does.  We did, however, army-crawl through a human plank tunnel in the dark while getting ice cold water poured over our backs as we listened to the same Slayer song for an hour straight.  So there was that.

The gym offers tons of classes.  Besides Detroit Tough, I'm excited to try TRX, Bricktown Bodies, and Bodyweight Warrior.  Right now I've been doing drop-in for Mechanics but once I know what's going on with my hamstring I'm going to start a 1-month membership that my parents gave me for Christmas.  (They're the coolest parents!)  Hopefully next month I can check out some of these other classes.  It's time to shake things up!

Detroit Tough is located in Corktown, behind Brooklyn Street Local and PJ's Lager House. Read more about Detroit Tough and what Coach Roger is doing with the gym and for the community in the January Hour Detroit issue.  Good stuff is happening in Detroit, ladies and gentlemen.  I'm happy to be a part of it.   Amazing gym, incredible people - coaches and clients alike.  

Plus they have super sweet hoodies. 

Photo courtesy of Brian Wolski

What gym do you belong to and why do you love it?

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Finding Peace in 2015

As we begin another year, I'm reading many Facebook posts about running goals - new distances, PRs to be set, favorite races to be run again.  Registration opened at midnight for the Detroit Free Press marathon and it seems everyone I know signed up for it already! I love the enthusiasm and look forward to seeing it continue throughout the year with training plans and race day excitement.  This is the first year that I'm not signing up for the Detroit relay, half, or full in 8 years.  I love running in Detroit but am planning to run Chicago instead, which is the week before.  I have a qualifying time, Brian has family there, we love the city, and it's time for something different.  The good thing is I'll be in Detroit on race day to cheer on all my friends along the course!

It isn't realistic for me to set specific running goals right now, considering I'm not able to run.  I'm trying to be brave while I work on my recovery but I don't know what the future holds.  Not knowing when I'll be able to run again is scary.  I feel this quote is very fitting for me as I look to the year ahead. 

Coach Terra at Detroit Tough asked me to think of a word to focus on for the new year. After much thought, I chose PEACE - finding peace in what I do, making peace with my decisions, with myself, with the things I cannot change.  Being at peace with not knowing what might come next.  

If you chose a word to focus on, what would your word be?

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Injury Update - 7.5 Weeks

It's been so long since I've run.  51 days to be exact.  It feels like forever!  High hamstring tendinopathy is a real b*tch.  Thankfully, I've been able to keep up my fitness in other ways.  I've been going to the gym and riding the stationary bike just about every day for 45 minutes.  At first the seat aggravated my butt; however, as my hamstring improved a bit that did, as well.  I tried spinning class a couple of times but found that getting in and out of the saddle, as well as hovering over the seat, left me in pain the next day.  Back to solo rides.

I've also been learning to swim.  Today will be my last of 5 lessons.  When I first started I only knew how to doggy paddle and had never worn goggles or a swim cap.  Now I can swim one full-length of the pool in a somewhat respectable manner.  I have a lot of practice to do and I don't love it yet but I'm getting there.

What I've worked the most on during these past 51 days is strength.  I've been going to Detroit Tough for a Mechanics class.  Coach Terra helps me with balance, mobility, and strength.  I've made a lot of gains from my work with her - both mentally and physically!  (Detroit Tough post to follow shortly.)

Along with my work at Detroit Tough, I'm also finishing up another 4 weeks of physical therapy.  This time I'm going to to Advanced Physical Therapy in Dearborn.  It's been a good experience.  Previous PT was done at Henry Ford Fairlane (not a great experience) and ATI Ann Arbor (good experience).  I've been going 3 days a week for 1-1.5 hours and completing exercises/stretches at home most days that I'm not there.  The exercises all work to strengthen the hips, glutes, and hamstrings.  I'll finish on Friday but continue my home program until I see my orthopedic on January 14th.  He has an option he's considering to speed the healing process, but that would also have recovery time in and of itself.  I will keep you updated on that.

Here are a few of my exercises from physical therapy (all photos courtesy of Brian Wolski):

Straight leg lift 1 of 4 ways (holding 3 seconds): I use leg weights at PT

Straight leg lift 1 of 4 ways (holding 3 seconds): I use leg weights at PT

Clams (holding 3-5 seconds)

Ball Bridge: part 1 (hold 3 seconds)

Ball Bridge: part 2 (hold 3 seconds)

People are starting to ask when I'll run again.  The only answer to that question is that I'll run when I'm pain-free.  After running in pain for 7 months, I'm finally doing recovery right.  

Boston 2015 is probably not going to happen after all.  It would take a miracle.  But I've made my peace with it and set my sights on fall marathons - New York and Chicago.  New year, new races, new cities to see on foot.  And more time to heal.

Read previous injury posts here: 

Injury Update - Still a Pain in the Butt

Injury Update - On the Run Again!

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Age Group Award - Detroit Free Press Marathon

It took over 2 months but age group awards were sent out last week for the Free Press races that took place on October 18th and 19th.  Considering that they are personalized and engraved, plus the number that had to go out, the wait makes sense.  The timing was good, coming during week 7 of my running hiatus.  Yes, because of my hamstring injury I haven't been running for SEVEN WEEKS!  So yes, the little reminder that I could once run was nice.

I've won my age group in races before - even in my first marathon - but I've never been as proud of winning as this.  This wasn't an easy race to run.  I was injured before the race even started, my pacing went to sh*t at mile 1, everything was hurting by mile 12 and I had to really push myself to keep going.  My time was 3:08:48.  I finished 15th woman, 118th overall. I qualified for Boston 2016.  But when I was done, all I could think of was that I wanted to have run it faster.  And the fact that I could barely walk.  Now all I can think is that I want to run again.  

It's interesting how a couple months can change things.  Looking back, I am thankful for the race I ran, for what it taught me, and for everything I learned leading up to it.  I love that I fought hard and earned this award, and for that I will cherish it.  However, I will also let it be my reminder to train smarter and pace better.  And to listen to my body so that I will be ready to run again.  

Photo credit: Brian Wolski

Friday, November 28, 2014

Last Call for Winners!

I'm still waiting for 2 winners to contact me to claim their race entries.  If all winners do not contact me by 8am tomorrow (Saturday) I will choose 2 new winners.  Thanks!