A New Kind of Pain

This past weekend, I headed out to Colorado for work. My  business partner and I (I PROMISE I WILL UPDATE YOU ALL ON THE COMPANY WHEN THE WEBSITE IS DONE) were attending a conference called FitSocial in hopes of networking with some fellow fitness professionals and getting our start up off the ground – oh, and learning some new things too! We stayed at Natalie’s (my business partner) vacation house in Winter Park, Colorado, which isn’t too far from Boulder and Denver, where the conference was being held. Winter Park is absolutely beautiful, and if you follow me on Instagram, you saw about a bajillion pictures that prove it.

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Um, let’s talk about how obsessed I am with fall, mountains, and Colorado in general.

In fact, it even SNOWED while we were there. Yes, snow in September. If you know me, you know that I am absolutely a cold weather fanatic. I am obsessed with snow, winter, and everything that has to do with it, probably because I grew up in South Florida, where our seasons are literally “hurricane season” and “not hurricane season.” Anyway, when I saw that it was snowing, I knew that no matter how much my leg might hurt, I was going to go running because dammit, it might not snow here all winter. Fortunately, my leg had been feeling better and better as the week went on, so I headed out on Saturday morning for 3 very short, very high altitude, snowy miles. And it was glorious.

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Well, the scenery was glorious. Me trying to breathe at 9500′ elevation was not.

I had only brought shorts because the idea of it snowing in September seemed ridiculous, so I headed out in shorts and a long sleeved tech tee for my run. People looked at me pretty much exactly as you’d expect, with multiple people stopping to ask me if I was ok. I was more than ok, for the record. I WAS RUNNING IN SNOW! Oh, and my leg didn’t hurt, so that’s good too.

Anyway, at the conference they had workouts, of course, since it is partially focused on fitness. As I am so NOT the queen of cross training (but I’m trying to learn), Natalie and I decided a barre class as our selected workout of the three available options, which also included a spin class and Zumba. I’m so awkward at Zumba that I’ve vowed never to return to one of those classes again, and although I like spinning, I wanted to try something new. I had heard barre classes are super hard, so for some reason that made it appealing. Don’t ask me why.

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Before the pain

The classes focus on small movements to build long, lean, dense muscles. It’s kind of hard to explain, but essentially you’re doing small pulsing movements while holding a variety of ballet poses. It doesn’t seem like it would be very hard when you’re looking at it from the outside, but when you’re doing it, it is SERIOUSLY intense. My legs and arms were shaking on each of the exercises, and there was a very noticeable difference between the strength in my right leg versus the (lack of) strength in my left, thanks to my injury.  Our instructor looked like a human Barbie and was not only nice but also apparently in possession of superhuman strength, because homegirl did all the exercises in the middle of the floor without holding onto the barre (like the rest of us) and didn’t appear to even flinch.

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Meanwhile, this was me. And yes, I brought my phone to class just so I could document this experience for you because I’m generous like that.

So of course, eventually I decided that if Cassie (our instructor) could do the moves without the barre, then dammit, I could too, so I insisted on doing as many of the movements as possible without holding on to anything. Nevermind that Cassie had been teaching 2 classes of this per day for a year and fitness classes in general for 8 years. Nope, if she could do it, so could I. My determination almost resulted in me falling over about 30 times, but ultimately, I prevailed, and boy did I get a workout! This barre stuff is not for the faint of heart. It’s not necessarily so difficult in terms of cardio, although it can have that component. It’s much more a strength workout, and I’ve got to say, the time went by really fast while I concentrated on not collapsing. I was sufficiently (but not prohibitively) sore the next day, so I decided to incorporate this method into some of my cross training so I can build strength in my core and hips and hopefully prevent future injuries. I found a company that offers the workouts online, and you don’t need very much equipment at all – just a pilates ball, some weights, and a chair. So I’ll be incorporating this into my cross training a few times a week and looking like a ballerina in no time, I’m sure.

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Some of the FitSocial ladies at the barre class! Photo courtesy of Cupcake Cardio

As I get set to attempt/begin training again, I’m trying to really mix up my workouts and focus on getting stronger and faster without putting so much stress on my body …aka not JUST running, but cross training too – ugh! For now, I’ll be running four times a week, doing yoga 2-3 times a week, doing barre 3 times a week, cycling twice a week, and taking one complete rest day. Or you know, that’s how it will work in my mind – I am probably not that motivated in real life. In case you hadn’t noticed, 3 out of those 4 activities are  no impact! I’m determined to show myself that I can get faster AND stay healthy if I incorporate the right mix of activities.

LEAVE A COMMENT: What is your favorite way to cross train for your sport of choice? What is your favorite season?

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