Pilates Reformer Sessions and What I Learned From It

photo by: Balanced Body Video

I finished up my Pilates reformer private sessions and I enjoyed them, much to my surprise. I had never been a huge fan of Pilates, I’ve taken mat classes here and there over the years. They never excited me enough to go regularly but injuries and insistence, uh I mean encouragement, from my cousin had me give it another shot.

Theses sessions had me working hard and they were an eye opener. It’s always humbling to start a new exercise and realize that even though you’re in good shape there are things you need to improve. I was aware that I had imbalances but this definitely highlighted where my strengths and weaknesses lie.

I would not say my core is my strongest part of my body but it has gotten stronger with a variety of core targeted exercises and mat Pilates classes. The reformer sessions really took things up a level and I can see why people get hooked. I was also able to try the Pilates chair and have signed up for small group classes so I can keep working on my imbalances and strengthen my core.

I noticed that it helps in my running, I can feel my glutes engaging more as I run. Before I run I add in a set of marching bridges to my warm up to fire up my glutes. Having a stronger core also helps with my running form and makes breathing easier. Gotta love that.

In general it helps more with my posture, both in daily life and while working out. I sit at a computer for large chunks of time where I slouch and hunch over. This causes tight hip flexors and lower back pain. It’s been a while since I haven’t had back or hip pain, I’m working on changing that.

As with most classes I do recommend taking one with a live teacher before you do dvd or on-demand class. They can help you adjust your posture and do the moves safely and correctly. For instance, I tend to hike up my hip in Warrior III, which can exacerbate the imbalances and add to injury. Now that I know this I am much more aware when I practice on my own.

What new exercise have you tried lately? Did you like or dislike it?

Are you fan of Pilates?

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When the Training Goes Well and the Long Run Feels Good

sneakersI am almost afraid to put this in writing – I’ve had some really excellent runs lately. There has been some hip pain but overall I have felt stronger and faster. I started seeing a chiropractor for hip manipulation and he noticed this past week that the area of tightness was smaller.

I’ve been doing hill training and added in a fourth day of running. I had been sticking with three and doing strength, exercises from my physical therapist and cross training cardio. This week I felt so good on that fourth day I was able to add an extra mile and I felt fine afterwards.

Saturday was a down week, 8 miles instead of 12, and I took advantage of it. It’s crazy how much it makes a difference but I just did some stretching and went on with my day, no ice bath needed. Today I could have run but I stuck with strength, cardio and the PT exercises.

I think it helps that my training partner is pregnant and we’ve been running more slowly. I have a tendency to push and this forces me to take my long runs at an easier pace. I can run my shorter runs faster when I want to. Some days I do and some days I just run easy.

It seems to be working and I’m sticking with it for now. My half-marathon is 5 weeks away and I plan to have a good race. I have not signed up for anything else, I’m planning on taking a few weeks off to do interval training. After that I’ll see how I feel and what feels right.

I’ve also found my new favorite long run meal: Pineapple Coconut Curry. We hit a vegan restaurant in New Jersey, Kaya’s Kitchen, and the food was amazing. I was very surprised when my meat and potato loving husband suggested eating there. They have a lot of gluten-free options as well, so it was a win. We had Missy Dog with us so we chose to eat outside. Missy gives the dairy/gluten-free Mac N Cheese 2 paws up. (And she only had a few pieces – so no warning letters needed, thank you).

Do you have any races coming up?
What’s your favorite recovery meal?

Postponing my Marathon

Brooklyn Half 2014It’s hard to let go of something you trained and prepared for. To know you put the time and effort in and it isn’t going to happen. I’ve been going to physical therapy for my pulled groin which caused by my hip. Apparently my hip isn’t as mobile as it should be and hence the pain.

The good news is I no longer feel like I’m throwing my leg when I walk. The physical therapist recommended I skip it and I toyed with trying for the half. But another exercise move had me yelping and I knew it wasn’t possible. If stretching too far or putting all my weight on my leg hurts; running is going to be impossible.

It’s a bitter pill to swallow and I’ve done it before. The first half marathon I was supposed to run I developed a stress fracture in my hip. (yes, the same hip). There were a lot of tears that time, this time it’s more frustration/disgust. I know there will be other races in my future. I have one scheduled for June.

I have decided that I am going to focus on the good and stay positive. If I get frustrated I will make my life miserable and I’ll drive everyone else around me crazy. I have a lot to look forward to:

  • I will be strong for my June race and I’m going to kill it.
  • I have a lot more mileage under my belt now and I know I can do an 18 mile run.
  • My weekly base mileage is higher than it was.
  • I now have a bunch of exercises that will keep my hip strong and healthy.
  • I know which nutrition works for me and how to fuel for long runs.
  • There are races every month, the possibilities are endless.
  • I had quality time with my friends.

I don’t look at the training as a loss and I don’t regret running the miles. I look forward to my next race and enjoying it. I look forward to being pain-free. (well, as pain-free as someone running 18 miles can be).

Have you been forced to miss a race due to injury or illness? What did you do while you were sidelined?

Running, Injuries and MRI’s

ellipticalRunning has been difficult. Not because of the mileage but because I pulled a groin muscle. I rested a few days and tried running but my 10 miler turned into a 6. After another week of rest I called the orthopedist and made an appointment. The bad news – I needed to get an MRI. It’s my version of hell: loud, closed in and you have be still. I’m trying to keep my karma positive so I don’t end up spending my afterlife in an MRI machine.

I got the report and I can breathe a bit easier. There are not cracks or tears, just inflammation and some bursitis on the hip which is from every day wear and tear. (It also said I a small cyst on each ovary. I know this because I read the report as I was getting changed. I think it would have been good to mention even if it had nothing to do with my hip and groin).

A steroid shot was an option so I took it. Normally I’d skip it and heal on my own the race is in less than a month. I feel like I need to get another long run in to feel mentally trained as well as physically. I also don’t want to hurt myself further so I can actually complete the darned race.

In the meantime I joined a gym. I don’t enjoy going to the gym but I like having access to the elliptical machine and the bike. I was sore after the elliptical machine but it still felt better than running. I’m hoping after today’s steroid shot I can get a short run in tomorrow. I really want to do a long run this weekend, it’s really the last weekend to do one.

So I sit here with my ice pack on (yes, that’s a fun injury to ice) and driving myself nuts. I know I’ve been running consistently but I also know how I feel at 18 miles. Could I push through to 26? I believe I could, even if I end up walking after 18 miles. I’m hoping it doesn’t come down to that.

Have you felt under-trained but still completed your race?

What cross training do you do when you’re injured?



Cross-Training Through Minor Injury and Some New Nutrition

guI haven’t been able to run for the past week. I did my long run on Saturday and my back was achy. No big deal, I thought. I got in 11.5 miles with the help of my training buddy and one of my coaches. I got home and stretched. As the day wore on the pain got worse.

I waited a day or two and tried again. Nope, the jarring was killing me. Even on the treadmill I just couldn’t take it. So, more cross-training this week. I figured out if I do the low-impact version of my workouts I could still get some cardio and strength in without the agony.

Then I did a not so brilliant move. I tried getting rid of some of the melting ice on our sidewalk. That’s when I knew exactly why my back was aching. I stopped and just sprinkled down more snow melt. The melt is working and my back thanks me.

I’ve been using the 21 Day Fix workouts by BeachBody. There are about 10 different workouts and my muscles know they’ve worked. It’s kind of funny that I work out consistently but this can kick my butt. They’re not all new exercises either. I’m glad it’s working, I’d like to avoid further injuries as marathon training progresses.

I usually stick with Honey Stinger chews as my fuel. I tried the Pomegranate Passion this week and I really liked it. It reminded me of a jam my grandmother used to make. I will definitely get more of those.

I also tried Gu’s Caramel Macchiato. I usually find gels sticky sweet but this was quite enjoyable. I used it prior to a 6 miler. (It had been a while since breakfast and I needed a boost). I may get a few to break up the chews. I also purchased Salted Caramel but haven’t tried it yet. I hope it’s as good as the macchiato. Yes, I love caramel.

I’ve signed up for a 10 miler Sunday. I’m hoping that my back is fine and I get through the hella cold weather they’re predicting. The race is on, no matter what the weather is. At least I’m running with friends.

What’s your favorite fuel?

What do you cross-train with?

Tips for running in 10 degree weather?