throwing tires

One of my big goals for 2015 is hitting a 30:00 5K. The fact that I haven’t been able to accomplish this particular feat bothers me, more than it should. Now that my big distance challenges are out of the way, I have a little under a year to focus on this one, and try to make it a reality.

I will admit that I haven’t been serious about my cross training. I would go through fits and spurts, and I had a good run with yoga. However, scheduling changed and I was no longer able to attend sessions, so that went by the wayside. Then, as the marathon neared, I was scared of starting something new and risking injury, so I preferred the route of sticking with the proverbial “devil you know.”

Now that the marathon is over, I have the time and the flexibility to get serious about my speed. I know that I have the distance thing down. It may not always be pretty, but I can do it. Now I need to focus on my core and upper body to give me the tools to go faster.

Enter boot camp.

I have discussed before that I am a little nervous about classes. I am very self-conscious and I am terrified of making a fool of myself trying something new. It’s a character flaw I seem to be overcoming, and I am becoming a little more confident in myself, but I was still very hesitant to try boot camp.

In my head, I envisioned a ruthless, precision-cut, drill sergeant type instructor, screaming orders with the requisite spray of spittle to make things extra demoralizing. I expected to be hounded, pushed beyond my pain threshold and to tears, and to hobble away, feeling completely inadequate and shamed.

Sometimes, you just have to be open-minded about these things.

I met a friend at a mid-morning class. The gym is pretty no-frills – it’s clean and it’s safe, but it’s absolutely function over fashion. Which is ok. It’s close to home and the prices are low, so those are both big positives in my book.

The instructor was lovely. Yes, she shouts. Over the pounding of the music she plays. But she also encourages and banters and answers questions, and not once did she make anyone feel remotely “less than” if they stumbled or needed assistance.

I actually kind of loved my first class. We started inside with a series of HIIT exercises, including jumping jacks, squats and burpees (among other things). We had to do four sets of the circuit, 20 seconds per move with a 10 second rest in between. I was able to keep up, pretty nicely, if I do say so myself. Especially considering I have never done a burpee in my life.

After that, we left the gym for the stretch of pavement outside for the next series of moves. We had to do lateral skipping, sandbag carries, fire hose carries and just some plain running. When that was done, we worked with sledgehammers and had to do a pretty vile maneuver that involved dangling from a low horizontal bar and pulling upward. That didn’t work out so well for me, so I confess to cheating on the number I was supposed to do. But that was the only one where I wimped out!

At the end of an hour, we were finished and I was feeling pretty badass. Which I guess is how they get you to come back. I was really proud of myself for being able to hang with the rest of the class in terms of skills and abilities, and I was ok that I struggled with that one move because I confess to have absolutely zero upper body strength.

I was a little sore over the next couple of days, mostly in my shoulders and my core. It’s understandable. Those areas don’t get a lot of love.

My second class ended up being a lot harder. The warm up routine involved a lot of crunch-with-weights things that were nearly impossible with my midsection hurting. I was able to modify, telling myself that everyone has to start from somewhere. It was a little hard to swallow, especially considering how great I had felt about the first class, and I was pretty honest with the instructor when I said that if this has been my first time, there was a good chance I wouldn’t be back.

But I was invested, and kept pushing. We had to run (easy) and throw tires (interesting), as well as do rounds of flutter kicks and bent over dumbbell lifts. Ugh. However, the last series of workout involves some pretty comfortable work with kettle bells and I ended up feeling pretty good about all of it.


What I loved:

  • Even though this is a class, everyone works at their own pace. There is no pressure to do anything that someone isn’t ready for or strong enough for.
  • At the same time, everyone seems really invested in each other’s success. The vibe is supportive and encouraging.
  • The instructor is happy to demonstrate exercises and offer modifications as needed.
  • Each class is different with varying sequences of activities. This keeps things fresh and interesting and keeps the body from adapting to any one kind of routine.

What I didn’t love:

  • Anything involving triceps, shoulders and abs. Which accounts for my present condition.
  • Outside work is rain or shine, dry or wet. I didn’t love getting dirty from draping a sandbag across my shoulders, nor did I love avoiding the splatter from rainwater retained in some of the tires. Ew.

Where I go from here:

I think this is a sustainable activity. There are several options that work with my schedule and I think I can personally commit to attending twice a week, while still running three to four days. I have areas that need a lot of work, so I will be able to address those. I am also excited about the concept of toning a little.

The added strength and power can only help me with my speed and my form, so I am excited to see what kind of results emerge from this.

On another note, I have been toying with the idea of participating in a Spartan Sprint, and was really flummoxed with the idea of how to train. I now have my answer. Boot camp will be a  great way to prepare for some of the challenges, and round out my fitness so that I can conquer some of the skills that rely on upper body power.

I’m excited to see what’s in store at the next class!

Have you ever gone to boot camp?

Have you ever avoided a situation because of a preconceived notion and then found out you were completely wrong?

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20 Responses to throwing tires

  1. Betsy says:

    That looks fun! Nice job!
    Betsy recently posted…Lorna Jane Fit Challenge!My Profile

  2. This is so awesome! I have so much admiration for you a) tackling your fears b) pursuing your goal (which you are totally going to accomplish!)
    Our fears are our fears, an we all have them. That aside, I genuinely believe adding this strength work is going to make HUGE difference in your running. As soon as I move to NC and began running hills (strength in disguise) my speed unexpectedly skyrocketed!
    Anne @ recently posted…Weekend Review aka a Bunch of Pictures of FoodMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      Hills are everything! It’s a lot harder to get to them here, because everything is flat, but it’s about time they made an appearance in my life again. Especially with GATE coming up.

      I’m hoping this works out. I didn’t get to go this morning because little man had a really restless night after recovering from some bug, so hopefully I can get into a groove with everything. I can only do what I can do, right?

  3. I’ve never done boot camp, but I do CrossFit and I consider that pretty much the same thing! I will say that my training there has really helped my running. It’s amazing. Keep up the good work!
    Wendy@Taking the Long Way Home recently posted…Bumper Stickers and a #PowerDecal giveaway!My Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      It actually seems similar in a lot of ways, but there do seem to be some differences. However, it’s great that there are so many different exercise regimes for different tastes. There’s something for everyone!

  4. I’m terrified of these type of workouts. Mainly because, like you I lack upper body strenght. I can’t do a push up to save my life, let aloner a pull-up. Which probably means I should get cracking right? lol You are a rock star for even trying this. I really hope you manage to make it stick. Other than that, have you tried speed work? It does wonders for your pace if you’re looking to improve your 5K time.
    Frank@The Fat Runner recently posted…The Veredict Has Been ReachedMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      That definitely means you should get cracking. I’m pretty sure a pull up is never in my future, but a decent pushup? I’d like to get there.

      I have done speed work, and hills, but for the last almost two years, my goal has been distance. From the get-go, I have been focused on half marathons, and then the full, and 5Ks were just part of my training. Now I want to shift focus and look at the quality of those shorter runs. I love the moving target concept of running. When I hit one goal, I can move on to something else. It never gets old.

  5. If I were to start anew, I’d likely investigate a regular boot-camp class. My wife attends a regular cross-fit session, and she loves it. Right now, though, I’m disciplined enough in my own program that, I fear, the “not sure what we’re doing today” aspect of the bootcamp might throw me off. That and my “get this over with and move onto not working out” aspect of my workout would break.

    I will say, strength training, especially functional fitness, will shave significant time off your running pace all by itself . . . if you actually start training to run faster, as well, you’ll hit any time goal you might set for yourself.
    John (Daddy Runs a Lot) recently posted…Where I seek out to make crispy chicken drumsticksMy Profile

  6. I haven’t done boot camp classes, though I have lots of friends who have. With work and the farm, it’s nearly impossible for me to commit to classes of any sort, unless I opt for one of those 5 AM ones, which quite frankly… I don’t wanna. Hey, at least I’m honest. But I’m excited to read your posts about boot camp! I get my upper body/strength training in by carrying hay bales, 50 lb bags of grain, and 70 quart buckets full of poo… Hey, whatever fits in the schedule right?!
    You should definitely try an obstacle race! I haven’t done a spartan race, but I did do Warrior Dash, and it was SO MUCH FUN! You won’t be disqualified if there’s something you can’t do, going around is totally an option, so don’t let “I can’t” thoughts dissuade you. Honestly, all of the obstacles I encountered were completely doable. I was TERRIFIED of jumping over the fire, and had planned to around, but I managed to do it! And got a pretty cool photo too 🙂 One suggestion though, sign up for an early waive. Later in the day the obstacles can get really muddy/wet making them a lot harder than if they’re clean and dry.
    Lastly, you can totally achieve that goal. I’m terrible at being consistent with any sort of anything when it comes to training, but did find that adding sprints once or twice a week to your run makes a HUGE difference. Even if it’s just like 3 or 4 sets after (or in the middle of) your run. My running buddy and I used to do “driveway sprints” after a 3 miler during the week. Which is as it sounds…. sprint one way up the driveway, walk or jog back, repeat. Surprisingly fun in a silly way, and really helps with speed. That and hills. UGH. Hills.
    Stacie Seidman recently posted…Truthful TuesdayMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      Um. Slinging around hay and 50lb bags of grain kind of sounds like boot camp to me. 😉

      I am kind of intrigued by the whole OCR culture. There is no way I can climb a rope, arm strength or not, and the potential of jumping/sliding through fire scares me to death. But. No guts, no glory. If I zip lined over an alligator enclosure, I am pretty sure that I can do an OCR. Maybe. I don’t want to just skip obstacles, but I guess you can only do what you can do.

      Our driveway is probably not long enough for any kind of sprinting, but I do measure out 200/400 m and then hit it as hard as I can several times in a row. Or at least, I used to. It needs to start happening again.

  7. I want an under 30:00 5K too!!!! Like so bad! Let me know if this bootcamp is paying off towards that goal!
    Mary Beth Jackson recently posted…Something new with I-Tunes Podcasts!My Profile

  8. Kristen says:

    Congrats on finding a cross training activity that you love! I am currently doing this with yoga (except that I’m trying out like every single studio in Anchorage) and it’s so much fun trying new classes but also scary because you don’t know what crazy stuff you’ll have to do! Good luck on your sub 30 goal – I’ve only broken 30 minutes once and it’s definitely on my list of things to do again this year!
    Kristen recently posted…January RecapMy Profile

    • runswithpugs says:

      I have come to really like yoga, but have been struggling to fit it in with my schedule. I am sure I will be able to get back to it one of these days.

      It’s awesome to be able to try new things to see what sticks!

  9. That looks pretty badass! I would love the challenge. And PS- you are SO going to do a 30min 5k!!!
    Char @ Run Happy recently posted…Munchkin Meals: A Vegan Two-Year-OldMy Profile

  10. Awesome. I think adding in strength training will be great for your running.
    Abby @ BackAtSquareZero recently posted…Gluten Free Chocolate Desserts to Make Valentine’s Day SweetMy Profile

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