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Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Changing it up...

This past weekend's workouts pretty much speak for themselves. I think it's good though to reiterate what I hope many of you who came out with us this weekend have already concluded. That is, there is no single better thing you can do for yourself in terms of fitness than to remember to change it up every now and then. It doesn't matter whether you're a rabbit taking home medals every weekend from your local 5k, a mid-distance runner who glides through the miles all week, a marathoner who trains consistently and religiously in hopes of hitting that 3:30:00 mark, or a triathlete squeezing in a bike/swim/run whenever you can, your body will get used to what ever you make it do over and over again. That's why I threw out the crossfit challenge I did on Friday and invited the gang over to Steinert High School for something a little different. The routine is one that I've done before and usually try to do a couple times a week over the summer while school is out. Basically, it's just a circuit of some extreme it is:

Get to your local high school track and complete the following for 4 laps after a proper warm-up:

Begin with a 100 yard sprint along the first straightaway.

Jog half the turn and then head into the area behind the end zone. This will be your push up station where you'll alternate between the following, choosing one exercise at each lap:

-regular push ups

-triceps push ups

-wide push ups

-8 count body builders

Get up and jog the remaining half of the turn then sprint 50 yds at the straightaway. At the 50 yard line exit the track, jog over to the bleachers and run up and down each set of stairs heading up and down the same staircase, then over to the next one. When you've completed the entire set of bleachers jog back to the 50 yd line, get back on the track, and then continue jogging around the track until you reach the halfway point of the next turn.

This will be your leg station where you'll alternate between the following, choosing one exercise at at each lap:


-jumping lunges

-jumping knees to chest

-squat and hold

From this station, jog the remaining curve and start all over with the 100 yard sprint when you reach the straightaway.

Start with 4 full laps and work your way up to 6, 8, 10...

Everyone that came out Friday morning, despite not really knowing what to expect, did an excellent job. I have to say, as embarrassing as it may be, that I was probably the hardest hit by the workout towards the end which was evident by me being the first to drop on the squat and holds! Note to self: when putting the challenge out there to others be sure you can complete it yourself.

Roll call: Bill S., Bill Y., Butch, Frank, Heather, Jess, Linda, Lisa, Nate

L to R: Frank, Bill S., Butch, Linda, Bill Y, Nate, Lisa, Heather, Jess

With the crazy crossfit cardio workout done on Friday, it was time for our normal Saturday morning trail run. I got a text from Nate at about 6:15am, which is never a good sign, to say he was not going to make it. I have to give him a pass this week though since he held up the pace for the group on Friday morning when I could not. As I drove to the park I wondered who from the group that turned out the previous day would drag themselves out again. I also wondered how folks would be feeling the day after.

As I pulled into the parking lot, Bill S. was there waiting. The first words out his mouth were: "I'm sooo friggin' sore!" Then Butch and Linda pulled up. As I walked over to say hello, Butch was stretching out against the back of his truck and said: "I'm not too proud to say that I've never been this sore before!" Too funny!!!

After a few minutes grace period to see who else might show up it was time to get the show on the road. There were 5 of us, all of whom had made it out Friday morning as well, ready to tackle some trails...or so we thought.

We headed out along the bike path and ducked into the trails taking our usual route over past the boat house, up to the twirly bird, and out to the end of the lake. Along the way one of us, whose name I won't mention but it starts with "L" and ends with "A" so you can figure it out for yourself, seemed to have problems just staying on her feet and took two falls on the way out. She eventually got it together though, stopped the bleeding and held her own on a very tough run.

When we reached the path that leads out to the damn we headed straight back into the trails instead of making the right turn that takes you out to the damn. Once back in the trails we took the third right, turning at the two large boulders marking the trail entrance, and headed out to the back corner of the park towards the corner of Hughes Drive and Quakerbridge Road.

As we reached Quakerbridge Road it was apparent that the construction they had just recently completed in that area to improve the flow at Quakerbridge and Hughes while great for traffic had disrupted the flow of the trails quite a bit. It used to be that you could cross the creek at several spots near the corner using logs and/or stepping stones. When we got there, however, we found that those options had been taken away from us so we headed up over the recently installed guardrail and onto the nice new sidewalk which took us over the creek along the road. When we reached the other side of the bridge we hopped over the guardrail again and headed back down into the woods. It took a few seconds to pick up the trail but eventually we found it. It became obvious at that point that the construction taking place on the corner had kept people off this section of trails for sometime. The weeds were overgrown and the trails were a mess. At times it was reminiscent of the bushwhacking we had done out in Reading, PA, over the winter. In fact, at one point I had joked that Ron Horn, himself, had suggested the route we were taking.

We pushed along cautiously so as not to turn any ankles as we stepped down into the overgrown brush onto trails we felt with our feet, but could not see. This went on for some time but eventually we came out right where I knew we would, along the power lines that lead you back to the lake. When we got back to the lake we stood in the opposite corner, diagonally across from the point where we had started. We paused briefly to discuss the options and then took a vote. We had three paths to choose from:

a) head left, and onto the golf course to pick up the cart path to take it back through the golf course until we could pick up a trail on the other side

b) head straight, into more overgrown, messy trail staying tight along the lake and pick up the trails on the other side by squeezing along the narrow tract between the lake and the golf course

c) head right, towards the damn, cross over it, and then head back the way we came (aka - quit)

When the votes were cast, it was unanimous. We headed straight into more overgrown, messy trail staying tight along the lake and picking up the trails on the other side by squeezing along the narrow tract between the lake and the golf course. When we reached the golf course we had trouble picking up the trail again and had to spend some more time bushwhacking. After a minute or two though, we picked up the trail and started making our way back. After a couple of poorly maneuvered water crossings, leaving some of us with wet feet, we headed slightly uphill and put some space between us and the lake.

We were all delighted when we came out to the road that leads into the rowing center. I've said it before but it really is a great feeling when you stand at the opposite side of the lake and look across to see the boat house and the playground that you ran past when you started out on your run. With the end in sight, we headed along the stone path that runs behind the rowing center and back into the trails for a final go at it. At this point, I think every one's legs were cooked. Between the tough workout at the track the previous day and all the bushwhacking we had just done we were all looking forward to the finish. As we came out of the trails we summoned whatever we had left and kicked along the road back to the parking lot where we started.

At this point, the running was behind us but our work wasn't complete. Now it was time to start picking the ticks off of our legs, arms, and in one case, face. YUCK! Seriously though, as the temps climb and we start wearing less out on the trails it's important to remember to check yourself for ticks afterwards. Even when your not bushwhacking it through the rough like we were you can still pick up a tick pretty easily. It's not a big deal as long as you get it off of you before it sinks in. For information on ticks, how to check yourself for them, and how to remove them if/when you find them click here.

Roll call: Bill S., Bill Y., Butch, Heather, Linda

L to R: Heather, Butch, Linda, Bill Y., Bill S.


  1. Gee I am sooooo sorry I missed this one. NOT!

  2. Who are you kidding would have loved it! :)

  3. She would have loved it, with how into the workout she was on Friday!

    Those trails were nasty! Shame Nate wasn't able to make it.

  4. I wish I was there for the Friday workout! It sounds great, and I'm totally serious!