“Hills and core anyone?”
Thanksgiving Open Invite Workout (London, Ontario Canada)
(all photos: Steve Ryall)
I’ve been visiting my hometown London Ontario before making the big move to Connecticut. It was the week before Thanksgiving, and I posted on Twitter and Facebook…”who would be up to join me for a workout at the park Thanksgiving Monday? Hills and core?”. The idea came to me just as spontaneously as I posted it. I was planning on heading to the park for a workout anyway, so I thought I might as well open the invite to everyone and anyone who would appreciate joining: all ages, all levels, no pressure, lots of fun…
Hitting the hill
Before I knew it, I was on two local radio shows talking about it, not really having much to say except, “come out; it’ll be fun!”. Another London hometown Olympian, Damian Warner (wearing red toque in photo above), tweeted that he and 2 other National Team athletes would love to come. London’s Metro paper came out the day of, as well as Steve (meet director of the Forest City Road Races) to take photos – thank goodness because I forgot my camera! I asked a sponsor of mine, Eload, if they could to pitch in some samples of their electrolyte and energy gels (both products I use and love), and they arrived at my parent’s door step within 24 hours.
When I first posted the invite, I was hoping for 15-20 people to show up; Sunday night I guesstimated around 40. I arrived Monday morning to a crowd close to 100, of which 80 or so were there to participate!
It was a beautiful setting at Springbank Park, with the sun out, a crisp breeze, and a fall scent in the air that brings me back to my high school years of tough Cross Country seasons in London.
The group was great, and there was a great excitement in the air. People were there that I had met in the social media world; people I’ve chatted with on Twitter or that posted messages on my facebook page, as well as kids I’ve met over the years at banquets and on the track. A family, the McDougalls, woke up at 6am to travel from Niagara to be there for the workout!
Warming up with Pilates
We went through a Pilates series to warm up, then strides and drills. We hit the steep hill just outside of Storybook Gardens for an intense 15-20 min. workout, and closed off with a short core series. My sister Andrea, and brother-in law Dave (both physiotherapists who worked with me in Calgary) just moved to London and were there to help out with proper form during the exercises. My dad joined in for the workout too, just like in the ol’ days when we would run together :)
Explaining how to use core muscles properly
It was fun, but it was hard.
I had a few key messages, in general: not to cheat yourself by staying within your comfort zone; but instead bring “intention” into your workouts and challenge yourself (including ALWAYS running through the pylon, which many learned the hard way). I suggested that everyone go at their own pace, not wanting to be liable for injuries (or heart attacks): advice I should have taken myself, knowing it was only my 4th workout back after taking a long post-season break of doing absolutely nothing.
There was a buzz in the air when we hit the hill, and a rush of excitement. Before I knew it, I was accepting challenges of racing boys half my age up the hill. It almost killed me. I was so close to revisiting my turkey dinner and pumpkin pie from the night before!
McDougall family that drove from Niagara!
Everyone seemed to really enjoy themselves, and perhaps were a bit surprised at the tired state I was in by the end of the workout; nevertheless, it was an absolutely amazing morning, and I was thankful to have shared it with so many nice people. Please leave comments (especially if you were there)!
For those who wanted the info on my sister and brother-in law physiotherapy practices, here it is:
Dave Zelibka – Physiotherapy and IMS in London, Ontario
Andrea Zelibka – Skye Physiotherapy and Pilates, London, Ontario
Big thanks to Eload for the samples. Eload products can be ordered online from www.eload.net, or in London Ontario are available at The Running Room or MEC.