Saturday, January 16, 2010

Focusing on the Prize

Oh my, how I hate being home on a Saturday morning. Nothing against my family, of course, but I belong on the trails. It's my one day a week...heck, my one morning a week that is mine to go run and mentally/physically escape to the trails. Instead, I'm limited to a 13 mile trail tomorrow at the Run for Regis 50K. But....I'm staying positive and focusing on the prize...returning to "full time service" on the trails. So today as Marjie is cooking meals for a month with my sister-in-law and a friend, Amy, and my girls are scattered in a few different directions, I hit the living room floor for more work. As my physical therapist threw down the law a few days ago, no more than 2.5 hours of running tomorrow. In addition, she threw out another long (by definition, that would be 3+ hours on the trails...or my definition of 30+ miles) until I can roll from the "banana" position to the "Superman" position withOUT touching my hands or feet to the floor. It sounds so easy but it is so hard...for me, at least. Here's the Superman pose. Belly flat. Feet together off the floor. Hands out like Superman.

Next, the idea is to roll from this position into the "banana" position. Talk about a wobbling mess. Once I get there, this is it. The problem with this photo? Look at the loose shirt under the small of my back. That's bad. The lower back needs to be flat. Otherwise, I'm using my central abs. I need to be using my obliques (the sides). When you've been using your central abs for push-ups and everything else for a lifetime, just try switching. Not easy! I am trying to imagine driving my lower back into the floor and shifting my hips forward and I'm starting to get it...but not yet.

She also has me doing several plank stances which nearly everyone has seen or done. I do the center, left, and right...for about 10 seconds...about 10 times each. Focusing on using the obliques and not the center abs to stabilize.

There is also one moving exercise I do where I start laying flat, arms outstretched above my head on the ground, and slowly rise while imagining my spine leaving the ground one piece at a time. Throughout, my lower back MUST be flat to the ground a cavity should form in my lower guts. This indicated the obliques are working. Otherwise, I'm just using my central abs which is counter-productive. If I do it right, my feet should push across the floor as I rise and drag back as I slowly lower down. While down there, I also do leg lifts, one leg at a time. One left resting in the bent position and the working leg outstretched and slowly raising and lowering....again, with the small of my back flat. Lastly, she cut me a piece of elastic band which I use as you see here. The idea is to have a straight posture, use no assistance, and starting from feet together, move one leg backwards at the 45 degree angle 10 times. This directly works the opposite side's upper glute muscle (you know...your BUTT!). Turns out, I'm weak there, as well, and that area also helps strengthen/stabilize the entire area.

So as you can see, I'm a weakling in the central area of my body but I'm working on getting stronger. By strengthening the area, my iliopsoas muscles and adductors don't need to do all the work and I can be a more efficient and strong runner. I can also avoid a hernia which is what will happen next if I don't strengthen up and get myself together!

Head up, being positive, focusing on the prize!!!

Happy Trails, everyone!


Brian said...

Don't post photos like that anymore.. you're makin me excited!

ultrarunner (Brian Philpot) said...

You are putting in some great work on everything these day's. Have fun at the race sunday!