Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Different Not Bad... It's Just, Well, Different

Mid-May I finished my first 20 mile run and walked into the gym I had been paying for monthly for 3 years and not going to AT ALL, and said, "I need help." My core muscles were somewhere between weak and non-existent, with just having had a baby 6 months before. And I said, "There are ten weeks until my very first marathon. What do we need to do to make this go well?"

On a recommendation from a friend, I wanted Donnie to be my trainer. Well, we needed to start right away and Donnie was out of the country for another few weeks. So instead, I trained with the head of Personal Training at the gym, Jeff.

Jeff was great at gently working with me on my food, helped me lose 11 pounds and about 8% body fat, and I gained a lot of muscular strength. I was glad I'd ended up with the bigger basketball guy who had run one marathon, Grandma's in a 4:45, and could tell me he thought it was totally hard.

I saw Jeff 3 times a week, almost without fail, those 10 weeks until my first marathon at the San Francisco Marathon. The race did go well with all the running prep I had done and all the strength training prep he and I had worked on together. I had continued religiously to go 3 times a week since then, through now 3 marathons and 2 50Ks in 4 months.

Well, Jeff's moving, and suddenly too. I was excited for him, he's moving back up to Minnesota after 8 years in Texas. But what does it mean for me?

Ironically, I'm back to Donnie, the fellow who was originally recommended to me by a fast runner friend! Tonight was my first session with him, and it was an hour long evaluation of everything that's wrong with me. He described it as a sort of character assassination. He put me through a series of exercises and stretches and watched me run. He took lots of notes AND took the time to explain what he saw, and how it connected to different things I had noticed.

So Donnie's focused on stretching and strength-corrective exercises. He didn't even ask me about my goals in the first session, which is kinda weird. I'm so goal-oriented. But I think this will be good for me. It also gives me hope that I could see some speed come out of these correctons, which is what Jeff believes will happen since he thinks Donnie's very good at this biomechanical evaluation stuff. It appears I'm pretty efficient and doing a decent job with what I have, but what I have is a pile of bones with a series of twisted pieces, "external rotations", "inversions", "eversions", so maybe no wonder I'm almost 1,000 running miles into the year and still never an 8-minute mile in the pile.
... Or maybe we'll do all this, it will let me run an extra 10 years without hip or knee problems, and I'll just always be the speed I am now. Big shrug on that one!

I got home and told hubby about the session. I was a little pouty, and he gave me a big hug. I'm in a couple days mourning period - mourning the loss of a trainer I'd come to love, a routine I was set in and enjoyed, and simply mourning the change in my life before I pick myself up and just move on.

So Donnie's different. And that's not bad, it may well be very very good in the long term. But for now, for me, it's just, well, different.

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