Meet our Members: Roxane

Roxane first joined us regularly in our after work yoga classes.  She is about to complete her second round of our signature Fit Camp so we wanted to share a little bit more about her so you can see what kinds of people come to our classes (all kinds!).

What made you want to join fit camp?

I work in the Park Centre building and walk by StudiOne every morning and evening when going to and leaving from work. I have always enjoyed fitness and practicing a healthy lifestyle; however, as a young, busy professional I was really struggling with maintaining a consistent workout routine. At that time, I basically did not have consistent or routine workouts at all. I had never tried yoga before, but I would see all of these happy people coming to and leaving from StudiOne while I was coming to or leaving from work. I thought I want to be one of those happy people leaving the studio! So, I signed up for a yoga flow class at 5:30 and I loved it! I began attending yoga classes more frequently and could immediately see the benefits. My back and joints felt amazing and I left yoga feeling energized. While I am a new yogi :-), I've always enjoyed lifting weights. I missed lifting weights and challenging myself. I had recruited one of my girlfriends (Katie) to start doing yoga with me and she signed up for a fit camp and really enjoyed it. She encouraged me to join fit camp and I was ready for consistent strength training, so I joined my first camp and loved it too!

What is your favorite thing about the program?
It is really hard to find one favorite! I love that fit camp keeps me accountable. This is now my second fit camp and I can say that I actually have a consistent fitness routine in my life now even while having a busy work schedule. When I miss a class for work, I always feels motivated to make my class up on my own time or at the studio. I love that fit camp challenges me and I don't get bored with working out. Each class provides a new opportunity to push myself and each class is different. My body and my mind never get bored with fit camp. I love that I leave every class sweaty. When I leave a workout sweaty, I feel like I pushed myself and made my body work. I la-la-love the atmosphere and people that fit camp brings to the table. My job is always serious and often stressful. I love that fit camp is always positive and encouraging. I have never felt self conscious at fit camp. The instructors and other fit campers are truly nice and positive people. I walk out of fit camp in an amazing head space every day. When I leave each class, I feel good about the fact that I have accomplished a good workout, I feel encouraged by the instructors and other fit campers, and I feel like I can take on the world! 

What results have you loved the most? 

I am starting to see muscle gain and definition. #gainz I am real excited about the fact that I now have some baby biceps when I flex! I can definitely see changes in my body, but my favorite result from fit camp has been the way it makes me feel. Fit camp makes me feel positive, uplifted, and empowered.

What is your main motivation for staying fit?

My main motivation for staying fit is to take care of and love my body. 

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How do you spend your free time?

I spend my free time with my husband, family, friends, and loved ones. I love to help plan parties for family and friends, I enjoy good conversation with family and friends over a good meal, and I like to go to special events and concerts with family and friends. I have been in the Air National Guard for 11 years this December, so I also spend a good amount of my weekends and free time serving in the Air National Guard. My husband and I both have agriculture backgrounds and are involved with several agriculture associations. We also spend our free time working on our family ranches and businesses. 

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What do you love about Tulsa?

I love the people in Tulsa. People here are so friendly, open, and creative. 

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Favorite book?

A Tale of Two Cities


Favorite place you’ve visited?

Paris

 

Roxane, we are so proud of your commitment to yourself and this program despite all of the other activities that fill your life!  We are so thankful to have your positive and hardworking attitude in class and look forward to many mornings with you and hope you have many more mornings of leaving the studio as one of those happy people.  

Meet our Members: Candace

Candace has been with us since the very first day! She signed up for our introductory annual membership without ever having met us or taken a class.  She knew she was ready for a change, and started by coming to our yoga classes in the evenings.  

"I always wanted to do yoga and when you opened in my building- it was fate. I had no more excuses and simply jumped in feet first. I was originally uninterested in anything "fitness" because I was still a cigarette smoker and didn't think I would ever have the stamina, lung capacity, or desire to do anything involving high activity. But after help with quitting smoking and gaining general tips for better health, I decided again to jump in feet first to Fit Camp after having my second baby."

What made you want to join fit camp?- I wanted to lose the weight I gained during pregnancy, and to build muscle to carry heavy items.

What is your favorite thing about the program?- My favorite thing is the ability of the coaches to modify for my personal needs day-to-day but still feel challenged by them.

What results have you loved the most?- I love that I actually have muscles for the first time in my life!

What is your main motivation for staying fit?-My family's healthy and most importantly, my own and keeping myself strong to battle this disease.  (Candace fights a disease called hidradenitis suppurtiva, HS.  She has not once let it slow her down in class!)

 

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How do you spend your free time?- With my family!  We enjoy family walks, nature hikes and anything that keeps the four of us together and active.  

What do you love about Tulsa?- I love that Tulsa is big enough to be on the map, but not too big.  Tulsa is personal, friendly and continues to grow with new opportunities for adventures or trying something new.

Favorite book?- "Haunted" by my favorite writer, Chuck Palahniuk who is most famous for "Fight Club".

Favorite place you've visited?- Rocky Mountain National Park.  I believe my soul lives there (ours too!)

We are so proud of your hard work over the past year Candace, and grateful for your unconditional support from the beginning!   We remember the very first few days of Fit Camp when modified pushups were hard for you, and box jumps were an impossibility.  Now, you wouldn't believe how strong you look (and are) in class and in your life as a mom to two wonderful daughters.  We look forward to your continued growth and transformation.

Our next round of Fit Camp starts January 8.  It is a 12 week program focused on strength training circuits.  We will offer 5:15am, 7am, 9am, 12:30, 4:45 and 6:35 pm classes.  Contact fitness@studionetulsa.com for more information!

Tulsa Run Recap

We had such an amazing time this weekend being right in the middle of the Tulsa Run!  Since it was such a chilly morning, we had a lot of visitors stop in to keep warm.  Don't forget we'll be open the morning of Route 66 too!  Just blocks from the start line again.

Play time at the expo

Play time at the expo

The 5k runners were off first and we had Lindsay and Teresa representing the StudiOne team.  Both girls reached their goals and were able to finish strong - the last 5 weeks of training have really paid off!  They were so excited about how much fun they had, plans are already in the works for the next race!

Team 5k!

Team 5k!

Lindsay and Teresa both made it back before the 15k group set out.  There was a bunch of talk about strategic wardrobe choices.  It was a tough morning because the temperatures were so low but the sun was going to be out.  Some people made some last minute decisions for shorts or tank tops and then we were out the door.

Say cheese!

Say cheese!

We were represented by several 15k runners: Sprenkel, Michelle, Catharine and Susan.  Every single gal improved their times or did better than expected this training cycle!  We loved celebrating the hard work and accomplishments of all!

Congrats Runners!  See you next year!

Congrats Runners!  See you next year!

The next big race for us is the Route 66 Half Marathon.  We will be open that morning to host runners, just like we were for the Tulsa Run!   Be sure to stop in, we'll keep you warm and pumped up.

Our next training cycle will start in January - looking to start or improve your running?  We will have 5k and half marathon options for early spring races in Tulsa!  Email fitness@studionetulsa.com to get more information.

Tulsa Run Race Week Need-to-Knows

It's upon us.  The 40th annual Tulsa Run is this weekend!  There's not much left to do but get one more run in, pick up your packets and get some rest.  We've compiled all the critical information for this weekend's race in one spot, and threw in a couple of race tips for good measure.  We hope to see you out there!  We will be open at 7:15 am on race morning!  Come in for coffee, water, stretching and a pep talk before the race or for the 9am yoga class after the 5k.

Tulsa Run Packet Pickup

There are two days available for you to pick up your race packet.  This includes your bib and some other goodies, as well as a chance to browse the expo for various running accessories, snacks and services.  It's located downtown at the Cox Business Center.  You can stop in Thursday night from 4-8pm or Friday from 9am - 7pm.  This usually goes pretty quickly (depending on your leisurely-ness around browsing the booths) but maybe plan for at least 3o minutes.  There is street parking around the business center, or you can park in their garage for a fee.

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Race Day Schedule of Events

7:40AM – 5K Wheelchair Start Time
7:50AM – 5K Start Time

8:00AM – Finish Line Fest Opens
8:30AM – 2K Start Time
8:30AM – 5K Overall Winners Announced
8:50AM – USATF Masters Start Time
8:55AM – 15K Wheelchair Start Time

9:00AM – School Program Winners Announced
9:00AM – 15K Start Time
10:10AM – 15K Open Award Announcements
10:30AM – Beneficiary Check Presentation
11:30AM – USATF Masters Award Announcements
12:00PM – Conclusion of Tulsa Run; Street Closures Reopen

The Tulsa Run course will close at Noon. Gear check will close at 1 p.m.

The start line and finish line are the same for all events.  The start line is located on Boulder, near the OneOK offices and the finish line is on Boston near 4th street.

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A Few Tips for Race Day

Sprenkel compiled a list of her personal tips for race day.  These are just her personal preference after years of racing and figuring out what works best for her.  If something sounds like good advice to you, take it!

  1. It's going to be cold!  What you wear is of course, your personal preference but this is what I would wear for each event.  The 5k is first, shorter, and before the sun really gets high enough to warm things up.  It will likely be in the high 30s or low 40s.  I would wear long leggings (I wouldn't say it's cold enough for fleece-lined), a long sleeve shirt and definitely gloves and something over the ears (but not a hat).  The 15k starts over an hour later and since it's a longer run, we'll be out there when the sun is really working for us.  I'm planning to wear either capris or my favorite mid-thigh running shorts.  I'll wear a long sleeve shirt over a racing singlet so if I do get too hot, I can take it off and toss it, or tie it around my waist.  I doubt I'll need gloves and ear warmers at 9am but will have them with me before going to the start line just in case.
  2. Eat something.  Again, this is different for each distance, and each runner.  For the 5k runners, it's less important to have something in your stomach that early.  I'll still personally recommend eating something 1.5 - 2 hours before your race starts but you know what you've been doing in training and should follow that procedure.  For the 15k (with a 9am start time), I'll have a bowl of oatmeal at 7am with some almond butter and fruit, and then as I'm walking to the start line I'll eat a banana.  Both of those choices are light enough in my stomach to handle while I run, and provide quick and easy carbs for fuel during the run.
  3. Stay warm as long as you can.  I find little purpose to arriving to the start line too early.  You'll see some runners doing drills or running warmup miles.  I like to stay inside where it's warm for as long as I can.  Our Studio will be open for foam rolling, stretching, drills and warmth all morning so that's where I'll be until about 5 minutes to run time when I'll jog over to the start.
  4. Get some rest.  I'd go to bed early enough to get a good 8-10 hours of sleep Friday night.  If you're truly in the racing spirit for this run, you'll want to prioritize that over a night out or any activities on Friday.  If you're running for fun, it's a little less important.  Personally, I'll be at a concert the night before so I know I may not feel 100% on race morning and that's ok because I'm in it for fun this year.
  5. Don't try anything new.  If you haven't done something on a training run, don't try it on race day.  Don't eat any new foods, try any new drinks like gatorade, wear brand new shoes, etc.  Stick with what you've done in training and trust it!
  6. HAVE FUN!  This is one of Tulsa's best races.  Enjoy the course, enjoy the fellow runners, enjoy the spirit, and have a great race!
We're cheering for you!

We're cheering for you!

Pose Breakdown: Chair

Chair Pose

 

Two variations of chair

Two variations of chair

Chair pose, utkatasana, is a powerful standing posture that often begets eye rolls and grumbles when we teach it in class.  And usually we smile, and encourage you to breathe through it, knowing the benefits that can come for your legs, heart and mind from holding this pose for a few breaths.

How to Sit into Chair Pose

  1. Start standing at the top of your mat in tadasana.
  2. Take a deep breath in and begin to sit your hips back (as if you're sitting in a chair), as you bend your knees into a squatting position.
  3. From here you can either reach your arms up to the sky or bring them to prayer hands at your heart.
  4. As you settle into the pose, think about dropping your tailbone towards the earth and lean the torso over the thighs, keeping the chest lifted.
  5. Hold for 3-5 breath cycles.
  6. To release, you can simply press into the feet to stand or fold the torso towards your mat and press your hips up into a forward fold.

Let us know, do you love chair pose?!  

StudiOne goes to Boston!

This past weekend two of us gals from StudiOne set out on another traveling running adventure!  (Read about the first one here).  This trip, Katie, member of the running group and Fit Camp, traveled with me, Sprenk, to Boston to run in the B.A.A. Half Marathon on Sunday.

Hello Boston!

Hello Boston!

We left on a Friday for the Sunday race.  I've run plenty of races and really appreciated that our bibs were mailed to us ahead of time so Katie and I didn't have to worry about an expo day or transportation to get the bibs.  We left Tulsa around 7am and landed in Boston in the early afternoon.  The first thing on our minds was food!  We found an Italian sandwich shop in Old Town and then mozied on to our Air BnB.  I'd strategically searched one out within walking distance to the race start.

Thankfully, Boston is easy to travel around without a car.  We each purchased a week-long subway pass for $21 and used that as our only mode of transit for the weekend.  The rest of Friday we spent exploring the city (mostly Back Bay), browsing the shops and eating.  We had a little happy hour drink outside on the terrace of Cafeteria  and grabbed a healthy salad dinner at SweetGreen (I can't wait for one of these to be in Tulsa soon, or am hoping anyway!).

Saturday in Boston

View from our morning run.

View from our morning run.

We woke up with no alarm (amazing for two early-morning workout gals) and took our time heading to the Charles River for a little shakeout run.  We'd sat so much the day before and our race route wasn't in the downtown area so I wanted to take Katie to the river trail.  We ran 2.5 miles of the loop and walked the rest back to Beacon Hill for brunch.  It was probably close to 5 or 6 miles in total and is not a recommended pre-race activity.  However, neither of us were trying to run the race of our lives, we were there to see Boston and run a race, so we didn't mind the consequences that would come (tired legs on race day).

We grabbed coffee and brunch at a french bakery in Beacon Hill called Tatte.  We then decided to walk around some more, continuing to explore one of the very first neighborhoods of the city.  As we meandered our way back to home base, we stumbled on some shopping and had some classic girly fun.  Eventually we headed home to basecamp to shower and clean up for dinner.

Brunch spot in Beacon Hill.

Brunch spot in Beacon Hill.

We decided to head back to Back Bay, and just stumble upon a dinner place.  We asked the gals helping us at Athleta to recommend a pasta place and they sent us to Papparazzi - it was perfect.  Katie and I both had the exact same thing - a glass of wine and a bowl of penne pomodoro.  Because of the big race the next day, I ate a little more than I normally would have, but not enough to really feel physically uncomfortable.  We walked around a little bit more before heading to bed!

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Race Day!

Race morning was pleasantly relaxed.  This was my first race since the Jack and Jill Marathon, and my first race in my new age group bracket.  We were up early enough to eat a little breakfast and make sure we had time to walk the .6 miles to the park where the start was.  Much to our disappointment, the weather in Boston was warmer than in Tulsa - 75 and humid.  

Again, we had no pressure on meeting a certain time, or any goals to get PRs in this race so I told Katie we would just enjoy it and if we needed to walk, we would!  There were over 6,000 people in a single start line race (usually big races like this send runners out in waves....that would have been nice).  It was a little crowded on a paved trail course through the Emerald Necklace park system.  But, not to my surprise, the crowd support from Bostonians was pretty amazing.  This is a great running town!

As tired as we look, before the run.

As tired as we look, before the run.

We ran our way through the course feeling strong at some points and walking up big hills at others.  We were hot and completely sweaty, I even started dumping water on my head at water stops to try to cool down.  This was not the race we envisioned when choosing New England in the fall but we made it, one step at a time.  The last mile of the race was wonderful.  A cool drizzle had started and we got to finish by running through the Franklin Zoo, spotting giraffes, zebras and wildebeests from our trail.

As happy as we look, after the race.

As happy as we look, after the race.

I really liked this finish.  We ran into an old school stadium and got to finish by looping around the last turn of a track.  We couldn't hang around long because of our quick checkout time so we zipped it back to the Air Bnb, cleaned up, packed and set out on a food and mimosa mission.  We took our time strolling around Boston one last time before heading to the trains for the airport.   

This race was a really great reminder that they don't have to all be about going sub this time or beat that PR.  You can run to explore a new city or state, celebrate friendships and appreciate all that your body does for you!  Where should we take the Studio group next?!

 

Pose Breakdown: Triangle

Triangle pose, or trikonasana, is a fairly basic standing pose.  Not basic in the sense of being very easy to master, but basic in the sense that you're likely to find it in many sequences at all levels of yoga classes.  It is a beautiful standing posture that focuses on opening up the chest and hips, while stretching the back of the front leg.  Here are a few key pointers for an effective triangle pose.

Triangle pose is accessible to all levels!

Triangle pose is accessible to all levels!

How to Step Into Triangle Pose

  1. Begin in a strong standing pose at the top of your mat.  On an exhale, step your left foot back about 3-4 feet, opening the back foot to be almost parallel to the back of the mat as you step.
  2. This will cause your hips to open and square to the left side.  Let them do that, and allow your chest to follow.  Take a deep breath in, as you exhale bring your hands to your hips.
  3. Tilt your right hip down towards the mat, sending the left hip up and back a little bit.  You might feel a stretch sensation up the back of the right leg.
  4. Begin to hinge at the hips (still oriented through the chest to the side of the mat), reaching the right hand down towards the ground or your leg as you reach the left hand up directly over your shoulder (maybe picture your hands moving in towards the start of a cartwheel!).
  5. You can take your gaze down to the mat, straight ahead or up towards your hand.
  6. To come out of this, bring the left hand down to meet the right on the mat and step the back foot forward into forward fold.  Inhale back up to standing and repeat on the opposite side.
Full extended triangle is a beautiful hip and chest opener.

Full extended triangle is a beautiful hip and chest opener.

How to Modify Triangle Pose

You may want to consider modifying triangle pose if you are not able to reach the mat with your hand without some compensation in your spine.  Proper alignment is looking for a spine that is straight from your shoulders to your hips.  If you have to laterally flex through the spine in order to reach the floor, it'd be better for your body to use a block underneath your hand.  See the pictures below for two comparisons. 

Those wanting the most advanced posture can reach the hand to the floor.

Those wanting the most advanced posture can reach the hand to the floor.

Never feel pressured to touch the floor!  You can rest your hand on or beside your shin.

Never feel pressured to touch the floor!  You can rest your hand on or beside your shin.

Sprenk uses a block to help maintain proper alignment in her spine.

Sprenk uses a block to help maintain proper alignment in her spine.

What is Beer+Yoga?

For the past couple of months, we've been venturing outside our Studio walls to teach a Sunday morning class.  Our hosts are the guys behind Fuel 66 Tulsa, a food truck yard and bar.  They provide the ample patio space, drink specials and roof over our heads while we bring the yoga flows.  We keep things laid back, being sure to remind students to take sips of their drinks while we practice!

If you don't partake in alcohol consumption, we've got students who stick to water or who bring coffee in with them - we are open to all kinds of drinking!  If you've been considering starting a yoga practice or taking a class, this would be a great, playful and friendly place to begin.   You are certainly welcome to also bring your furry friends if they do well in public settings.  We've got a few regular pups who attend each week!

After class, the food trucks have arrived, the bar is still open and students usually stick around for brunch.  We meet every Sunday at 10am!  Please bring your own mat and a donation for the yoga. We hope to see you there!

Pose Breakdown: Tree

We're back with another pose breakdown today.  We're going to step into the realm of balancing poses today with a posture that is easily modifiable for all levels: tree pose (vrksasana).  This pose challenges you to balance on one leg, but allows for variety in the placement of the leg acting as a branch so that you can pick a stance that works for you on a particular day.

A strong balance posture!

A strong balance posture!

How to get into Tree Pose

  1. Start standing tall in mountain pose (tadasana).  Feel the earth under your feet and a strong foundation moving up your legs into your hips.  You should be able to lift your toes up off the mat and maintain your balance.
  2. Ground firmly through the left foot as you inhale the right knee up in front of you.  Once you feel steady here, begin to open the right knee to the outside of your body.
  3. Once you feel steady with the knee open to the right, you can bring the right foot in towards the standing left leg.  See where you can get it to land without using your hand to help pull it up higher.
  4. Check to make sure it isn't pressing directly into your knee joint.  The right foot should land above or below the knee.
  5. Your hands can do a variety of things.  For centering, bring the hands to your heart.  To open your chest, grab opposite elbows behind you.  For growth and additional challenge, raise the arms up like branches.
  6. Hold for several rounds of breath, making sure to press firmly into the standing leg so the hips stay even.  Then exhale the right foot back down to the mat and repeat on the opposite side.
Hands at your heart can bring a centering feeling to the pose.

Hands at your heart can bring a centering feeling to the pose.

 

How to modify Tree Pose

 

  1. Use the same steps to get into the pose as outlined above.  As you ground through the standing left foot, bring the right foot in to balance at the ankle of the left.  Use the right toes to press down as roots into the mat to help you hold your balance.
  2. You can choose any variety of stances for your arms, as listed out in number 5 above.

Practice using tree pose while you stand in your kitchen cooking, or watching your kiddos games from the sidelines.  It's a great way to build balance and stability in your body!

Fit Fridays: Full Body Rollups

Happy Friday Friends!  We've got a move for you today that is slow and controlled to target the core muscles of your body: the full body rollup.  It's a little bit like a sit up but requires more control and intention.  It's a great functional move because we have to get up from a flat-on-our-backs position out of bed every morning and a strong core will help with that.

Keep a tall spine at the top

Keep a tall spine at the top

How to do a Full Body Rollup:

  1. Start flat on your back on the ground, but don't get too comfortable here, the work is about to begin!
  2. Raise your arms so your hands are reaching up to the sky, right over your shoulders.
  3. Begin to slowly lift your body up from the ground, beginning at your shoulders.  Imagine someone pulling you at your hands and you peel up slowly off the ground.
  4. Keep lifting until you are directly upright.  If you like, and can maintain a straight spine, reach for the toes.  
  5. Tuck the belly in as you slowly roll back down to a flat back.
  6. If you need to, ask a friend to hold your feet down or tuck them under a couch for leverage.

How to make Full Body Rollups Harder

Once you've mastered the rollup using your arms and with your legs out flat on the ground, there are two modifications you can make to up the difficulty of the move.  You can either criss cross the legs to take away some leverage from your situp OR you can criss cross the arms to put more control into your core.  And then eventually you can combine both!

Yoga Pose of the Week: Lotus "Padmasana"

Lotus is considered to an intermediate to advanced yoga posture.  

Due to the difficulty of Full Lotus, I would recommend trying the half lotus pose "ardha padmasana" before attempting a FULL Lotus.   Most yoga students aspire to conquer the full lotus, however, it takes lots of practice, open hips and patience to master this one.  

How to get into half lotus

1. Begin by sitting on the floor in a criss cross position.  Draw both feet in toward your body, as close to your hips as possible.

2.  Take your right foot and bring toward your left hip crease, then place the outer edge of your right foot onto your left thigh.  

3. Ground through the earth, sit up tall, lift your heart up and continue to make space between your tailbone and the crown of your head.

4.  Hold this posture for 3-5 breath cycles, then switch sides. Allow your hands to rest on your knees, thighs or lap.  If you feel any discomfort or pain, come out of the pose immediatley.

Once you are able to sit in half lotus "arch padmasana" comfortably for 3-5 minutes, then you may be ready to try a Full lotus "Padmasana".  Take your time, have an open mind and focus on your breath cycle on this one.  I would encourage an auditory exhale while in this posture, allowing you to completely let go.  

How to get into full lotus

1. Begin by sitting in a criss cross position.  Draw both feet in toward your body, as close to your hips as possible.

2. Take your right foot and bring toward your left hip crease, then place the outer edge of your right foot onto your left thigh.  

3. Take your left foot and bring toward your right hip crease, then place the outer edge of your left foot onto your right thigh.  

4. Ground through the earth, sit up tall, lift your heart up and continue to make space between your tailbone and the crown of your head.

5.  Hold this posture for 3-5 breath cycles.  Allow your hands to rest freely on your knees, thighs or lap.  Then switch the position of the top leg, providing equal opening for both hips.  

6. As you practice this posture, you will begin to lengthen the amount of time in he pose from 3-5 breath cycles to 3-5 minutes.  If you feel any discomfort or pain, come out of the pose immediatley.

A few tips and tricks to keeping both sides opened evenly -  If is is an even day begin with the left leg and on odd days, begin with the right one.  Do not expect to master this pose overnight.  Every body is built differently; some have naturally open hips, while others do not.  Continue to revisit the poses that challenge you and over time these poses will become your favorites.  

 

 

 

The Greatest Adventure

Last weekend, StudiOne instructor Michelle and I traveled to the west coast to run in our Jack and Jill Marathon.  We'd been training for 16 weeks in hopes of qualifying for the Boston Marathon.  I, Sprenkel, was originally planning to accompany Michelle on her BQ attempt and check off the half marathon distance of my 21st state.  But, on the day we registered back in February, the half was already sold out.  So I committed to the full, but only reluctantly.  I, Sprenkel, who after my last marathon in 2013 called my dad to make him promise to never let me sign up for another one, was game to run 26.2 miles again (never say never, eh?) but was not interested in the work or idea of qualifying for Boston.  Well, ok the idea of it because what runner isn't?  But I am a half marathoner, a recent 5k racer and never in my 10 years of running would I have considered myself strong enough to qualify for Boston.  Never.  (This is important, are you getting it?)

Somewhere between the time of signing up and starting our official training, I'd been convinced by two women that I could at least train like I wanted to qualify.  One of them was Michelle, who was begging for a training partner, and also believed in me before I did.  The other was Kathrine Switzer, the first woman to register and run in the infamous 1967 Boston Marathon.  I listened to her speak in April and this line brought me to tears, "We are very good at underestimating what we're capable of."  That settled it.  I flew home to Michelle and we started training the very next week.  Who am I to stand in my own way?

The first half of training went really, exceptionally well.  Our schedules matched so we were able to run most of our training days together.  The weather was great, we were hitting our paces and the grudge of weeks and miles of training hadn't set in yet.  Then more than halfway through, our schedules changed, the weather turned nasty and the long miles dragged on.  I was making bets left and right to help me eat right and get the last of my miles in.  But we dug in and got the training done.

Going into the race, we were both unsure of what to actually expect.  Michelle scoped out the course that was most likely to get us a fast time, which is why we hauled ass across the US to run.  The 40 degree temperature difference would certainly work in our favor and so would the downhill.  But still, that doubt lingered that we could hit the low 8:00 paces because we hadn't been in the Tulsa heat and humidity.  I almost tossed in the BQ towel before the race even started.

We had a beautiful first full day in Seattle that we spent carefully eating and touring around.  We went for a shakeout run on the river at noon time and barely broke a sweat.  It was heaven.  There was a lot of chatter about our race strategy to keep us from going out too fast.  I definitely couldn't pull one of my 5k race starts where I bolt out of the gate - too many miles for that.  We made sure to stock up on fuel for during the race (my Aunt Annie's fruit snacks) and a blanket for the start line since we would be waiting around for an hour.  We tried to go to bed early but our nerves kept us up later than we would have liked.  Luckily we were running on more than 12 hours of sleep from the previous night.

Race day came at 3am on Sunday.  We got dressed in our layers and put our glide on all the proper seams.  There are so many sequential things important in this time period.  We had to leave by 3:45 am to make it to our 4:30 bus on time.  After we were dressed and made sure we had all the watches, headphones, playlists, snacks and pills (salt and Aleve) we would need, we made our breakfast of steel cut oats and ran out the door.  

I stayed surprisingly calm throughout the whole morning.  I get more nervous for 5ks than I did for this.  I was calm on the bus, although I did get a little annoyed at all the race chatter going on on the bus.  At that point, you've done everything you can to get ready for the race and I didn't want to hear any more what if this happens or what if that happens?  I stayed calm as we huddled under our blanket waiting for the start.  Even stayed calm on the walk to the start line and the quick hop into the bushes for one last bathroom break (hey it happens, and you don't want to have to stop on the course if you're going for time).  Before I knew it, we were off, and I was still calm.

It felt so good to be running.  The mountains were incredible, the temperature was perfect and I had my best running pal by my side.  Without a definite plan still, I just wanted to run by feel and keep a mindful approach to my breath and effort levels.  About half a mile in we hit the famous Snoqualmie tunnel.  For about 2.5 miles of disorienting darkness, we paced behind the 3:35 pace man.  It was quiet except for the steps of runners, and occasional drip drip of water in puddles and the steady breathing of a dozen people around me.  I didn't have any signal in the tunnel so had no music in my ears.

At mile 3 we popped out the other side and I was so happy to be able to see the whole ground beneath me.  I shed my top long sleeve layer and tossed the headlamps into the bucket.  Soon after, a flood of my Motigo messages for miles 1-3 came all at once.  Michelle and I laughed out loud in excitement of the familiar voices.  

For a good amount of miles after the tunnel, we ran together, comfortably and steadily.  The scenery was indescribable and I wished often that I wasn't racing so I could have stopped to take pictures.  We were surrounded by beautiful green trees, an expansive blue sky above us and the green landscape was dotted with bright, colorful flowers beside the trail.  Somewhere in those middle miles, I looked at Michelle and said, "I think we can make it."

When we got to the mile 15 water stop, I knew some of the toughest miles were ahead of us.  I was still feeling strong so I kept a pretty good pace.  I have to walk through the water stops or I'll swallow too much air, but I tried to move as quickly as I could.  Working for the next mile marker and Motigo message with every step.  The water tables were about two miles apart and by 17 I didn't have Michelle in my sights anymore when I looked back over my shoulder.  We'd made an agreement that we would stay together as long as we could, but then if one of us needed to push on, to leave the other.  

There's a famous quote in the running world: "The first half of the marathon is 20 miles, the second half is the last 6.2".  And y'all is there truth to that.  When I hit mile 20, I was still moving along at goal pace but then it's like all at once all your systems start to shut down.  Knees, feet and ankles were aching.  Soon the shoulders joined in the party.  I felt like I was going as fast as I could but I also knew I had slowed down.  But I kept moving.  Keep moving for the cheers!  I was always excited to see who would be there to greet me at the next mile.   And I even got a little miffed on a few miles when I knew there were certain people aware of the difficulty of those miles (18 and 20).

Those final six miles passed so slowly and at this point, after the 3:35 pacer passed me, I had no expectation of hitting a qualifying time.  But I was still so so amazed at my own run.  The last mile was the hardest: Motigo had no option for cheers at mile 26 (something I plan to speak to them about), a man on the sidelines cheering shouted out, "Just under 500 yards to go" and I spent at least 500 yards trying to figure out how far that is in meters, and still had no finish line in sight, and my shoulders were aching so much.  I'd developed a calf cramp that had modified my gait a little bit and was pretty much shuffling along the trail.  Then I saw it.  And perked up a bit.  Despite all the pain, I still felt surprisingly strong so I put on my best sprint and crossed the finish line.  

I took my medal and two bottles of water before trotting back to find Michelle.  She finished strong, not far behind me.  We both hobbled around gathering up snacks and our start line bags.  We called or texted our biggest fans with our times and limped over to the shuttle bus.  Michelle couldn't feel her legs and I had such a bad cramp in my shoulder that I couldn't move my left arm.

Looking back, a week later, I don't remember any sadness or disappointment from either of us.  During the race I was reminded so powerfully of the magic of running, and especially the magic of a well-trained for marathon.  They're not always enjoyable, and not every step of Jack and Jill was bliss.  But, for most of those 26.2 miles, I felt fearless, strong and capable.  I thought back on training struggles, days I wanted to give up, and doubts I had in myself.  I remembered years ago when running used to be a punishment to myself for overeating or indulging in delicious food.  And I celebrated that now running is a tool I use to feel strong and able.  I listened with so much love in my heart to my messages from friends and family, near and far.  I was overwhelmed with gratitude and humility that so many people would take time out of their days to cheer for me (Motigo founder reached out to me to tell me I set the record for cheers in a single race <3).

Before the race, I thought of one of my favorite quotes, "Maybe it won't work out, but maybe seeing if it will is the greatest adventure ever."  I was at peace at that starting line that even if we missed it, I grew as a runner in that training cycle.  My perception of myself and my capabilities completely shifted.  I never missed a track workout. I completed long runs in the 80+ degrees of the Tulsa summer, while friends were in town and before vacations.  I ran on treadmills on cruise ships.  I said no to brunch and dinner plans, donuts and ice cream for 16 weeks.  And oh man, did Michelle and I adventure through the city streets and weather of Oklahoma.  But I grew.  I stretched.  I pushed.  Michelle gave me the nudge I needed to at least think about it, and then the support I needed to get through it.  Kathrine gave me the push to commit to trying.  And I gave myself permission to fly.  I can't wait to go back and get that BQ!

Don't stand in your own way y'all.  We are our biggest critics, doubters and obstacles.  If you need a nudge, or a support team like I had, myself, Teresa and the students and teachers at StudiOne can help you.  It's fall racing season in Tulsa - pick an October or November race and see what you can do!

 

 

 

Yoga Pose of the Week: Basic Warrior Flow

Hi friends!  The past couple of weeks we've been breaking down individual yoga poses for you.  Today, and every couple of weeks, we will build a short flow from the ones we've reviewed to help you practice anywhere you are!  

This week we will start with a basic flow that includes downward facing dog and some lunge variations.  Grab a space and try it!

  1. Begin in Mountain Pose.
  2. Inhale your arms up overhead and exhale your hands to your chest.
  3. Inhale your arms over your head and exhale, diving down into forward fold.
  4. Inhale halfway lift, exhale fold.
  5. Plant your hands as you step the right foot back to tall plank, followed by the left.
  6. Inhale, hold plank strong, exhale lower yourself all the way down to the mat.
  7. Inhale lift your chest to cobra.  Exhale fold to the mat.
  8. Inhale press to your knees then your toes in downward facing dog.  Exhale.
  9. Inhale lift your right foot up.
  10. Exhale, step the foot between the hands.
  11. Inhale raise up - crescent lunge or Warrior 1 (depends on your back foot!)
  12. Inhale hold, exhale twist open to Warrior 2.  Hold for 3 breaths.
  13. Exhale, cartwheel your hands back down to the mat.
  14. Plant your hands, step the right foot back to tall plank.
  15. Begin on step 6 and repeat the steps to the left side.

We hope you enjoy this little sequence, and this series on the blog.  Please comment if there is anything we can do to further enhance your practice or make it more accessible - see you in the studio!

Runner Tips: Learn the Lingo

Running, to me, is one of the friendliest sports to be part of.  The camaraderie between runners on the trail abounds; I always offer waves of encouragement and support and find that the same is reciprocated to me.  I've also found that no matter the distance or the experience, runners are always happy to share stories of races and give advice to beginners.  If you're new to the running scene, use this list of key runners terms to fit right in to the chatter!

Lace up those shoes and join us for a run!

Lace up those shoes and join us for a run!

PR - This stands for Personal Record.  I prefer to say personal best if I speak the word out loud but, I will say, "I'm trying to PR today" or " My PR for the marathon is 4:24:03".  A PR is a big deal so if someone says they recently PRd in a race, even if only by seconds, give them a big congratulations!

BQ - Boston Qualifier.  The Boston Marathon is one of the most prestigious non-professional, non-Olympic events there is in the running world.  Because of this, the Boston Athletic Association has strict standards for getting into the race.  Most races can be run simply by registering before the entries are sold out.  The Boston Marathon requires a specific time (BQ) based on your gender and your age to even be able to register.  My qualifying time as a 29-year old female is 3 hours and 35 minutes.

LSD - No, this is not related to the drug.  LSD stands for Long Slow Distance.  In distance training (half and full marathon, or beyond)

Negative Splits -  Negative splits are a training run dream.  These occur when your time per mile gets faster every mile.  So think starting slowly and easing into a faster pace as you go, then finishing really strong.  It's a standard racing approach for distances longer than a 5k and up to a half marathon.  

Taper - In the last 2 to 3 weeks of distance training, the mileage significantly drops in the training plan to allow the legs and muscles some rest and recovery time.  It's a particularly tough time mentally for runners because it's easy to feel like you're losing weeks of speed, strength and endurance progress.  As challenging as this period is in the training cycle, it is so important to respect the taper! (Beware of runners who tell you they're tapering....they're prone to moodiness and instability)

Fartlek - This is a particular style of running with no particular rules except that you run fast some, and you run slow some.  You can use a timer to dictate your intervals or you can use markers on the street (street lights, street corners, garbage cans etc.)  It's a fun way to get some interval training in and pass the time during runs of longer miles. 

Pace - Runners talk about their pace usually speaking about minutes per mile.  For example, the average pace I would need to BQ is 8:12 per mile.  I don't have to run an exact 8:12 minute mile for all 26.2 but the average across the race distance should work out to that number.  The lower your pace number is, the faster your run was.

Ultra - An ultra is kind of an ambiguous race distance.  I consider everything over 26.2 (marathon distance) to be an ultra.  Races of 50 miles, 100 miles or 24-48 hour races are also considered ultras.  I am fairly confident that I will never run an ultra.

Are there any words you hear runners throw around and are unsure what we're talking about?  Let us know and we'll do our best to help you understand the lingo.  

You are also invited to join us at the Studio for any of our group runs.  We are friendly and supportive, no matter your experience!  Tuesdays 6am and 12:30pm, Thursdays 6am and Saturdays at 7am.

 

Yoga Pose of the Week: Warrior 2

Hello yogis.  This week's posture is Warrior II; Virabhadrasana II.  This posture targets the legs, shoulders, thorax, abs and groin.

How to get into a Warrior II:

1.  Begin in Tadasana (Mountain Pose).

2. Inhale and fill up with air, then on your exhale gaze down to the mat and step your right foot back, about 3 1/2 feet(adjust your stance accordingly - longer for more work, shorter for less).

3. Inhale your arms up overhead, then exhale them parallel to the floor, palms facing down., keep your hands active.  As  your arms come down, open your hips to face the right and pivot on the right foot so it is parallel to the back of your mat.

4.  Gaze down to check your alignment, front knee is over your ankle, or behind.  If it is in front then widen your stance.  Be sure that your front knee is tracking toward your big toe and and second toe of the front foot.  Sink into the pose.

5.  Shoulders stack over your hips, chest is open, hands are active (reaching in opposite directions).  Press firmly into both feet and you send the front foot through the top of your yoga mat and the back foot (press firmly and through the pinky toe) through the back of your yoga mat, using the opposing force to stabilize you.

6. Gaze over the front fingertips, soften through your face, neck and allow the shoulders to settle.

7.  Hold this pose for 3-5 breath cycles, then step your back foot up to meet your front foot, inhale your arms overhead and exhale your hands to heart center.

8. Repeat steps 1-6 for the opposite side. 

 

Let us know how your practicing is going, and be sure to check back next Monday when we string the last few poses together into one flow!

Fit Fridays: Squats

Happy Friday friends!  Today we'll break down a very basic and functional move for the lower body: the squat.  Squats are so useful in everyday life for sitting and standing, getting in and out of a car and lifting objects.

Squats target the entire lower body, and when done correctly, can really activate the core muscles as well.  There are hundreds of ways to add variety and change to the squat but today we will cover the most basic of these options. 

Give it a try:

1. Begin in a base stance, with your feet about hip width apart.  If you're using added weight, just hold them at your sides.

2. Start to sit your hips back, keeping your chest high, as if you were going to sit back in a chair.  Go down as low as you can while maintaining a lifted chest.

3.  Press firmly into the feet to push yourself back to the top of the pose.  Be sure to exhale on the way up and squeeze those glutes together at the top!

Try a quick set at your desk - if you don't have any extra weight, see how many you can do in one minute!