Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Dynamic Duo

Sometimes (often!) it's just more fun to have a partner in crime.
7 years ago I met my workout partner (through an on-line fitness community based in IL of all places) and we've had an on again off again relationship ever since. With two very busy athletic children (her) and two small children (me), there were days, weeks, months, and even years that things just didn't line up for us to work out together, but yesterday we hit the gym again with a 6 month progressive plan that had us working side by side and getting right into the groove we've always had.

Fortunately, we both thought to wear black bottoms and purple tops so there was no mistaking we were together :D
For years we worked out at the same time/same place and some of the regulars at our gym were happy to see our return. The Dynamic Duo is back together again. WATCH OUT, PEOPLE!
Yesterday was legs...I can barely walk. Today - upper body...and if I get my way, a half hour of sauna and steam!

My first real experience with a workout partner was about 15 years ago. My friend, Melissa from work, and I started power walking every morning before work. This usually meant meeting up with each other at about 4:45am in order to get home and showered and ready for work. We were unmarried apartment dwellers at the time and we lived in a neighborhood where when you park your car, it's best to keep it parked or you may not find a place to re-park it. So each morning, I would get up at O'Dark 30 and trudge to her place in the spookiness of that hour. Knowing she was sitting on her stoop waiting for me, shivering with cold and maybe a little fear, encouraged me to NEVER make her wait, never oversleep, never let her down. It just takes a little accountability to keep my engine revved.

The other aspect I love about a partner is that I find more courage to give up less easily. It's easier to try something new with a sidekick. Maybe because I feel less silly with my partner by my side looking equally as ridiculous learning how to perfect a new standing on a ball with a band around my thighs squat or just the encouragement that I'm not alone in my fitness endeavors, but whatever it is...I'm glad I have my partner back.

Today, I also wanted to share this story by Rachel Cosgrove about giving up:

How Easy Do You Give Up?

Once a week I head to a hillside of stairs to do my interval workout. It is a challenging workout with 160 stairs to climb.

I am always amazed by the different people I see out there also doing the stairs. People of all fitness levels – some this is their first workout in years as they trudge up the stairs once or twice and call it a day, others are athletes home for a holiday break flying up three stairs at a time, or firefighters at the local station or mom’s making it a family outing with their kids who are joining in doing the stairs too.
Recently the city planted trees blocking the entryway to get to the stairs. There are no signs that say – “No Trespassing”, but I can only assume they are trying to keep people from using the stairs as a form of exercise. (It seems the stairs were built to reach the landscaping on the hillside, not for the purpose of giving us a place to workout).
As you walk up toward the stairs, it now appears, with no obvious path to get to them, that these trees block them. This would be an easy obstacle, if you were looking for an excuse to not do the stairs. And we have all been in the situation where you are looking for an excuse to not do something especially when it comes to exercise or anything out of your comfort zone.
Where there is a will there is a way…there is a small opening where you can squeeze by the trees maneuvering around them to get to the stairs.
A few weeks ago as I was doing my intervals and catching my breathe at the top of the stairs I noticed a couple walking up to join me. They were trying to figure out how to get up there and were not going to give up. As she stood looking determined with her hands on her hips strategizing the best way, looking for an opening, he actually started to climb through the bushes, practically climbing trees to get up there I’m sure scratching himself up. They were not going to use this as an excuse to not do the stairs today. As I came down and saw him tangled in the bushes going the wrong direction, I yelled out to them that they could get through at the small opening and they were on their way joining me on the stairs. No surprise they were great training partners as we chased each other up and down pushing each other to do “one more round.”
A few minutes later I was at the top of the stairs catching my breathe and noticed another couple walking up toward the stairs but before I could get down to tell them where the opening was they had given up and turned around. It was as if they were hoping an obstacle would get in the way – “Oh darn, there are trees blocking the stairs. I guess we can’t do them…” turning around faster than I could run down the stairs they had given up on doing what they had set out to do that morning…
How easy do you let obstacles get in your way? Do you back down as soon as you have an excuse?

  • Do you prefer to workout with a partner or solo?
  • Do you find yourself giving up too easily or not trying something new out of fear or self-consciousness?
  • When was the last time you kicked yourself over giving up on something or when was the last time you tackled something and did NOT give up, that made you proud? Shout it out here!!


Johann said...

Nice post Julie! I'm a solo runner and prefer to train alone always. I will from time to time join my club for a Saturday morning run but limit this to about 4 times a year. I don't give up easily but I'm hard on myself at the moment for two big DNF's I've had.

Shellyrm ~ just a country runner said...

Great post!

It reminds me on my Sunday training run. At first I wanted to be alone so I ran ahead, finding my legs. Then I fell in behind the runner I want to be more like to watch her form, to see her effort, to chase her down. Then I ran with someone because I had found my pace, my joy and I wanted to help him keep going when I could tell he didn't want to. I may never be as fast as I once was but one thing remains constant for me, I never give up.
Slow or fast, I will always out last!

Jill said...

Love the post! You are such a BA for tackling all those stairs, I know those are not easy. At all! I am pretty much a solo runner, and I am good with that...but now and then my neighbor will run a long run with me. Sometimes it's nice, sometimes it annoys me (haha), right now he is a tad faster than me so he does push the past a little and I do like that, but there are times in a long run I just want to be silent. I also started running once a week with a new friend....again, nice, but I find myself wasting so much energy talking and haven't hit my target paces because too much time has passed with conversation. I also don't give up easily...holy crap, I tried to work around my stupid heel for 10 months before I sought out help!! Stubborn!

Julie D. said...

I LOVE stair work outs!! you'll have to tell me where those are... I have to admit, i think I go through seasons. Times when I will do anything and everything to get around the obstacles that prevent a good work out. I will get up at o'dark thirty, jump bushes and trees, and do whatever it takes. Other times, (as in lately), I've used obstacles as an excuse. Good to think about my perspective on those obstacles.

CautiouslyAudacious said...

I wish I had a training partner but it's hard for me to find someone at my running speed (I'm usually too slow for my running buddies) I have been able to find cycling buddies throughout the years but they always seem to move away!

Anonymous said...

I love working out with a partner, but I've been working out mainly solo ever since I started so I don't know how much of a difference it would make. I don't give up easily, but I do think that especially lately I haven't been pushing hard enough to see improvements. It kind of sucks. I should do something about it.. :-)

Deb said...

Love the swimming picture!

I have a couple run buddies that I love, but I haven't really found a workout buddy that is the right person to really keep me on track. In a way, it's good, because it means I've relied on myself to do it, but I would love to have someone that I could rely on to get out with regularly.

Aimee said...

I'm kindof on the fence about training partners! I usually train alone, and I'm fine with that, but sometimes I wish I had someone to train with. I have been able to do several of my long bike rides with others and that has been awesome! BUT, I usually do my long runs by myself. I just find it really hard to find someone who runs at the same pace..ya know?

Kate said...

I love this post!

I've done a lot of training alone, but in the past year I've had lots of fun people to run/bike with. Most of them are way above my level, so it makes me push myself harder than I would on my own. And I have one friend who I'm that faster person for, and we have a blast together.

The last thing I wanted to give up but didn't? Definitely the half ironman, and it would've been easy bc there was no money involved, only pride. Giving in? Every time I plan to get up early to run and then choose to sleep in. :-/

Katie @ Will Race for Carbs said...

I love having a workout partner for all the reasons you listed. Plus your workout goes by so much faster when you are gossiping!!

Teamarcia said...

Holy stairs! I've always been a lone wolf runner, mostly because I never knew when I could get out around the kids. Lately I find myself wanting to run with a group or partner. Maybe to make it more fun.

Mike said...

That's awesome you have your training partner back! Have fun!

So true about looking for reasons to give up. When you push through and complete the work out anyway, it feels like that much more of an accomplishment.

Abby @ Have Dental Floss, Will Travel said...

Love this one, and I totally agree! Training with a partner forces you to push yourself harder, and at the same also makes you forget how hard you're pushing yourself.

Nelly said...

Great post! I like running with a friend if possible, just makes the run go by faster, and it is fun to hear what they are up to. I've ran with one of my friends from high school off and on, and hopefully soon I'll be able to get back to running with him regularly on the trails.

Those stairs in that post look awesome, I bet that is a good workout! Great story on that.

In my injury rehab I've had to do a lot of new things - swimming, yoga, rehab exercises, water running, etc. Sometimes I am scared to try something new, but I try to force myself to do it, and usually it turns out okay.

And about Oregon vs Stanford, I can't wait! haha Oregon looks to have a decently hard schedule too prior to playing Stanford (Arizona State and USC), but I think they will win those 4 games as well to enter the game with an unbeaten conference record!

And sorry about Lamichael James injury, I was watching that game last week, and literally cringed when I saw that injury. Gruesome. I hope that he is back healthy soon.

Epic Fail said...

I prefer having a workout partner, but it has been years since I've been able to find one. I had a trainer for awhile, but he was insane and eventually started acting like my workout partner, other than the part where I had to pay him. I didn't appreciate paying someone so I could spot them, so I got rid of him. I'd love to have another workout partner, though, one that I don't pay.

Heather @ The World Through My Eyes said...

Hey, thanks for checking out my blog! I prefer to run alone, but most others workouts, I like to have a partner. All depends on the workout I suppose!

Amanda - RunToTheFinish said...

i really wish I still had my training partner that I ran with once a week. it pushed me so much, but gave me plenty of time to do my own runs too

Molly said...

I train alone, but I do love company on really long training runs.

thanks for sharing that article!!

Big Daddy Diesel said...

I prefer to bike with people and run solo, honestly, there is no one slow enough that I can run with

Lisa said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

I prefer training with someone to training solo most of the time. Occasionally, I like to train alone for a specific workout, but usually prefer a partner.

I'm trying NOT to give up on things due to fear. This half-century was one thing I almost didn't do because I wasn't sure if I was going to be able to do it WELL (quarter century would be so much easier). Decided to do it even if it was hard for me and I feel really good about the accomplishment now.