Monday, January 9, 2012

The Struggles of Moving to a New Place

When I arrived back to Denver on Dec 29th I had a boyfriend and a smushed face dog very excited to see me! I was equally excited to see them as well. Two months away from Phil and Brizzy was hard!

this was after her excitement wore off.
I have spent the past week trying to get settled. Put clothes away, clean up, find a job, work out, keep myself busy. To be quite honest- the past week was kind of lonely and I struggled at times. I may have cried once or twice...or more. My amazing friends and family who checked in on me last week knew I was having a hard time and they helped me get through the week with phone calls, voice mails, texts, a really funny email conversation with Kate, and of course Phil being supportive.

I am feeling much better this week (still obviously missing friends and family!) about being in a new city. I am also very, very excited for the other DC transplant, Liz to arrive this week. Her and her hubby are relocating to Denver so at least I will know one person! Liz and I have very similar goals this year: run a sub 4 marathon, explore a new city, try all of the local breweries, and make some Denver friends. Get here faster, Liz! :)

Hopefully in the coming weeks I will be all settled, make some friends, find some fun places to explore, and learn how to use my new toy:

I can't live in Colorado and NOT partake in snow sports! And I am still scared of skiing after my accident, so snowboarding it is! I'll try to keep all bones and ligaments in tact. And yes, my board and bindings are black with a bit of pink- just like my bike. It just so happened that this board was a really, really good deal, and was one of the only ones in my size. It was meant to be.

Thanks to all of my friends that checked in on me from afar last week- I love you guys :)

And ps- my blog is about to get a whole new makeover! I am switching to a self hosted blog so see ya, Blogger! If you have been having trouble with the blog- that is why. Its been a painful process but I think I have it almost figured out and it should be up and running in the next few days!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Pure Barre: A Triathlete's Dream Crosstraining Workout

Us triathletes are always looking for a fun way to cross train. You know- something that doesn't involve swimming, biking or running. My sister introduced me to a class called Pure Barre when I was home visiting family back in September.

The class is about an hour long and is a series of small isometric movements both on and off the ballet barre. The instructors are high energy and they always seems to pick the best music for the exercise. For my first class, Nikki told me to just grab the two pound weights. I looked at her with my head cocked to the side. Two pounds didn't seem hard. She assured me the two pound weights would be enough. She was right.

The small movements do not seem too intimidating at first and then your whole body starts to shake. The class focuses on toning your arms, abs, thighs and booty by bringing your muscles to the ultimate fatigue point and then stretching.

I enjoyed the class (and took a few more in Philly over Christmas) so much that I signed up for a month of unlimited classes at the studio near my apartment in Denver. After finishing Ironman and with a few weeks before intense marathon training starts, I figured doing a month of demi plies until my legs shook uncontrollably sounded like a great change of pace from my normal swim-bike-run routine.

Pure Barre is marketed to women who are looking to tone up. The Pure Barre media guide states:

        "Pure Barre is the fastest most effective way to change your body. PB utilizes the ballet barre to perform small isometric movements set to motivating music. These movements are targeted at where women struggle most: abs, hips, thighs, back of the arm and seat. 
       The result is a total body workout that lifts your seat, tones your thighs and burns fat in record breaking time. Clients see results in just ten classes."

The Pure Barre slogan is "Lift. Tone. Burn." Now while I, like all other women, wouldn't mind a perfectly toned rear end and arms, I was there for a different reason yesterday- to get stronger. I am using Pure Barre as my off-season strength sessions.

Pure Barre should be marketed to athletes as well because this class focuses on a triathletes and runners weakest muscles. We triathletes are forward movers- every sport we train for moves us in one direction. Which leads to weak lateral stability muscles. Which then can lead to knee, hip, ankle and/or lower back injuries.


Pure Barre, while toning, is strengthening muscles that triathletes do not focus on or use much during regular exercise. The biggest of these muscles being the gluteus medius- the erky muscle that causes a ton of hip and knee pain if it is not strong. As I was moving my leg up and down with the slightest motion to tone my outer thigh and hip, my glute med was getting stronger. It hurt so good.


I would bet that the majority of runners, triathletes, and active people in general have weak ankles. We never work out our ankles! And guess what- there are a ton of small muscles in our ankles that keep us stable. Last year, when I was diagnosed with tendinitis in my ankles my physical therapist had me do a ton of ankle stabilization exercises. Yesterday, as I was on my very tippy toes at the ballet barre, it reminded me of the exercises I would perform to strengthen my ankles.

And the abs portion of the class is killer. I thought I had a pretty strong core until I had to pulse up and down for 90 seconds with my hands by my ears. Lets face it, we all need stronger cores.

And lastly- flexibility! I can say with certainty that athletes do not stretch as often as we should. In the triathlon world we need flexibility to survive those long bike rides in the aero position. The Pure Barre class stretches out the muscles you just worked until fatigue and then some.

I'm looking forward to spending this month getting stronger and in prime strength condition for injury-free marathon training. Pure Barre, I love you. You are a triathlete's dream.