Are You a Cardio Junkie or a Strength Junkie – August Blogging Challenge – Aug. 28th
The answer is C) All of the above. Cardio is the peanut butter to my strength training’s jelly. The yin to my yang.
*DISCLAIMER* – If my posts stopped making sense the last week or so, I’m slightly delirious from sleep deprivation.
I’ve always loved both. Growing up, I was in a neighborhood where most of the kids my age were boys. Since I wasn’t a frilly pink skirt, Barbie doll dressing kind of girl, I hung out with the guys. I’d wrestle, catch snapping turtles (yes, us city kids caught snapping turtles too), play baseball, race bikes, shoot bottle rockets at each other, and so on. Being told I ran/threw/hit like a girl was a serious insult. The guilty party usually went home crying to mommy with a bloody nose. Now if you say that to me, prepare to get chicked… and a bloody nose. My dad had a home gym in our basement. One of our favorite past times was to dare each other to see who could lift more. I wasn’t about to let myself be outdone by some boys, so I’d join in on the fun. I’d practice on my own to make sure that I kept my title of strongest kid in the neighborhood. My love of weights was born.
Around the same time, my elementary school would hold a mile long race for kids in 3rd-5th grades. If you ran it in under 10 minutes, you got a pin, a ribbon, and a certificate saying you were a member of the under 10 club. My competitive streak was already alive and well, so I accepted my challenge and enlisted the help of my dad to teach me how to run. He would drive around the school in his truck and use the odometer to measure out a mile. He’d time me as I ran around the school, often yelling phrases that would have made Bill Bowerman proud. So was born my love of running.
Fast forward several years. I was recruited by the college I attended originally to play soccer. The spring before I was to report at try outs, I got a huge packet in the mail from the goalkeeper coach. At 5’5″, I wasn’t blessed with height. I had to rely on my strength and speed. In the envelope was my summer training program. 7 days a week, 2-3 workouts a day. It was to become my full-time job. I was lifting 3x a week, plyos twice a week, speed work a few times a week, and 2-3 days of longer runs. As my graduation present, my parents bought me a weight bench. The family dog got roped into being my running buddy. I loved every minute of it.
When I got to college, I had to retire from soccer to focus on my studies. One of the reasons I had chosen the college I did was because of the brand new state of the art weight and cardio rooms. Without soccer to keep me active and busy, I started lifting 3-4 times a week and ran almost everyday. Not far from campus was the Bio Reserve, a 350 acre nature preserve with several miles of trails. This is where I fell in love with trail running.
Now days, I still try to balance both. It seems like so many women are afraid of weights. I often hear from potential clients that they don’t want to lift because they are afraid they will get big and bulky. That’s a myth. I still lift like a guy. I can out squat several of the football players at the high school I work at. But I can still fit into a size 2. I’m proud of my strong, athletic body. I may go through some phases here and there. Like strength training taking a backseat to running while training for a longer race, or spending more time in the gym over the winter when the roads are in rough shape for running. I need that balance to feel my best.