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    The X(training)-Files

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    I know there are tons of benefits to be had from cross-training.*  Extra cardio will help me build my fitness without exhausting the same muscle groups; strength training will help my form.  Yet I still can’t seem to find the motivation.  I just like to run!

    A friend told me about this fitness class she was taking, and thought I might like it too.  I thought, what the heck, maybe if joining a clinic helped me commit to running, joining a class can help me commit to cross-training.  I didn’t even know what it was when I signed up.

    It turns out it is a strength training class involving  this pair of long straps that is anchored to the wall above your head, and there are handles on the ends.  You hold on to the handles and use your own body weight for resistance through various exercises like push ups, squats, triceps dips; enough to work your whole body, anyway.  You can see what I’m talking about here.

    So far I have learned a few things:

    1.  My upper body is composed entirely of overcooked pasta.
    2.  You use a slightly different set of muscles when you sneeze than when you blow your nose – I know it’s strange, but it’s true!  I hurt in two very different ways doing those two activities the next day.
    3.  When I am sitting or walking a few days after a new activity, I may think my legs are entirely recovered from the activity; but when I ask them to run, I learn how very wrong I am.
    4.  Triceps are involved in removing the lid from my sandwich container.

    That was week one; my second class is tonight.  The class is 10 weeks long, so I am sure I will gain more valuable insight that I can share as I progress.  I hope that I do end up with improved posture and running form.  At the very least, if by the end of the 10 weeks I can actually do a real push up, it will have been worth the price of admission!

    *My dad would insert some comment here like:  “why cross-training?  Why not happy training?”  And I might say “dad, no one uses the term “cross” to mean angry anymore, so people won’t get that joke.”  Yet somehow, this seems appropriate here.

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    A runner for just over four years, Karen has already completed a marathon, two half marathons and a variety of 5k and 10k races. She describes her first marathon - the Scotiabank Toronto Waterfront Marathon last September - as "a nightmare." However, she met a very interesting person in the process - a man named Sydney who was running his 152nd marathon! Although the race didn't go as well as planned for Karen or Sydney, he showed her that no matter how experienced a runner you are, you can still have a bad day. "Does that mean we shouldn't bother to prepare, or maybe just shouldn't bother at all? Of course not!" says Karen. "In the end, it is what we make it." We like her optimism!