Monday, June 16, 2014

Buns of Steel

In mid-May, a mother runner friend mentioned that she was embarking on a 30-day squat challenge.  Intrigued, I asked for more details.  She sent me the plan along with the sage advice: "Don't look ahead."  Wise words that I surely couldn't heed as I immediately scanned down to day 30.  175 squats?!  Even broken into sets, that number sounded impossibly huge.

The mother runners and I plunged headlong into the challenge, keeping each other accountable via Twitter.  One of my favorite parts of the challenge was giggling over the funny-only-to-us hashtags we came up with over the course of the month.  Beginning with #bunsofsteel and ranging into #squatarama and #squatamnesia, I would sometimes squat just so I could chat with them about it.  Who knew that witty friends and clever Twitter banter could make even squats seem tolerable?

My sister also joined in the fun, squatting with me at Innsbrook and on the banks of the Black River during our family's annual trip to the lodge.  We were squatting in the boonies, or as she quipped, saSQUATching.  Between my sister and my squatting mother runner friends, the month passed quickly, and I stayed surprisingly well on track.  I missed a day or two, but I was able to make up the missed squats and ultimately finished the challenge.  

As I ran the hills at Innsbrook this past weekend, I noticed the benefits of my regular squatting.  Thanks to my stronger quads, glutes, and low abs, the monstrous hills didn't seem quite so daunting.  I felt powerful as I charged each hill, and I still had energy left in the tank at the end of my 3-mile run.  The new challenge, of course, is to maintain this strength now that the 30 days have expired.  I plan to do 50 squats on my non-running days; let's see if I can stick to this plan as well as I stuck to the challenge...  Any volunteers to keep me accountable?