Blog Series: #2 Real Ryder Spin Class

….and My Story Runs On….

What happens when you eat the same amount of food as you were when you were running 30-40 miles a week?  You know it…the pounds start creeping back up….add a little depression and self-pity because you can’t run and at some point you have to snap out of it and get with the program.

After stepping on the scale, I knew I had to figure out a way to get more cardio in since I’m not not running and I need to stay off my feet as much as possible.  One of the things I love about Flip’N Fit is that you get to sample a variety of classes at different studios.

I used to love to spin a long time ago but haven’t done it in a few years.  I had heard about these Real Ryder spin bikes but never been on one. Real Ryder bikes are unique because they tilt and lean, almost like a real bike. It engages more muscles groups including your upper body and core.

You can't see it's tilt functionality here but trust me on it ;)

You can’t see it’s tilt functionality here but trust me on it ;)

So, I got the courage a few weeks ago to sign up for my first Real Ryder class at My Fitness Studio.

As always, I’m a bit intimidated to go somewhere new by myself but I sucked it up and went for it.

What a great experience!  I’ve been to 5 more classes since my first time.

Honestly, I enjoy the outdoors a lot (hate treadmills) so I wasn’t sure I was going to like being inside on a bike…but I love it.  It’s been great for me because I am working on my cardio and working my core in different ways which I know will help me with my ChiRunning.

I also really enjoy the variety of the work out: sometimes we are going uphill in harder gears, then downhill super fast, then on rolling hills, biking in simulated sand dunes, etc.

Having great music and a dark room lit up with Christmas and disco lights add to the experience as well…and last but not least, the instructor makes all the difference.

Terry, Donna & I

Terry, Donna & I

Donna (on my left in the photo) is the owner of My Fitness Studio and taught several of the classes I took.  I love her style and she says the same thing as I do: “I love kicking my own butt!”.  We started talking and I’m going to be doing one of my ChiRunning clinics there in January! Terry just started teaching there and she is a machine!  She has all kinds of certifications and was also the first woman in the US to run a USA Boxing Gym.  She is high energy and Italian!  You know I love my Italian paesani!

Our bodies become very efficient if we repeat the same workout all the time.  So go shock your body and try something totally new…like a Real Ryder Spin class ;)

Have you ever tried this class? Let me know your thoughts!

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

Blog Series: #1 Cross training- Dahn Yoga

….and My Story Runs On….

As many of you know, I’ve had to take a break from running due to a heel spur.  I blogged about it a few times in  What? The ChiRunning Instructor is injured?? and  My Worst Running Tragedy so far…..  After being a big baby about this, I realized how many silver linings I’ve found for this part of My Running Story.  So I decided to blog about them. First one is: Cross Training.

Thanks so much to Flip’n Fit because if it weren’t for them, I wouldn’t be having these experiences.  You basically pay a monthly membership but get to try out a lot of different modalities from Dahn Yoga to Spinning to Cross Fit!

Today I had an amazing experience. I signed up for what I thought was a Yoga Foundations class at Dahn Yoga.  They are 8 minutes from my apartment so I figured why not. I love trying new things and always like to see how it could improve my fitness level as well as my running.  I’m always a bit nervous to go somewhere new by myself but that’s part of the process too. If I tell people to get out of their comfort zones, I better walk the talk too!

I honestly cannot explain to you exactly what happened but it was awesome! I’m thankful to be flexible (mentally) so I went with the flow.

I walked in right before the 9:30am start time and participants were in a circle punching their stomachs. I’d heard about this from Qi Gong so I started in with them.  I think we did it 100x?  We just kept counting to 10 and starting over.

The next series of exercises included a few things that I recognized from the ChiRunning body looseners but very small movements that had big impact.  At one point we were doing some movements and trying to balance these plates in our hands while moving and twisting.

Plate balancing while twisting the intestines and stretching!

Plate balancing while twisting the intestines and stretching!

After several standing exercises we moved to the floor and did many reps of chest and belly breathing.  I’m trying to body sense as I write this and not sure if it’s my core muscles or my intestines that are sore…I think it’s both!

The last part of the class included a 10 minute Energy Meditation which I loved.

I remember being so mad at myself for letting my heel spur get to where it is but today I’m very grateful that it happened.  As cliche as it sounds, I truly believe there is a reason for everything and this is part of My Running Story.

Moral of the story:

  • Get out of your comfort zone and try something new
  • Always find the silver lining no matter how hard it seems sometimes
  • Be flexible.  Go with the flow and just allow things to happen as they are supposed to.

Anyone ever try this?  I talked to them after class and looks like on Wed they focus on Tai Chi, Thu is Back and Spine and Friday is Brain Wave Energy work. Decisions, decisions! I have Spin tomorrow too…next blog post about that!

Can’t wait to see how all these things are going to impact my ChiRunning when I’m able to get serious again about running!

There were a lot of neat posters in the room and this one caught my eye...

There were a lot of neat posters in the room and this one caught my eye…

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

Take a Gratitude Walk

….and My Story Runs On….

I like to have themes for my facebook posts and try to stay consistent.  Usually on Wednesdays I’ll post about WORKOUT or WALK WEDNESDAY. Since tomorrow is Thanksgiving, I thought I’d share some ideas on just taking 15-20 minutes out of your day today or tomorrow to take a Gratitude Walk.  Here are some ideas:

  • Walk alone if possible and find a peaceful location.
  • Go on a walk and contemplate a question about gratitude like:  Who do I appreciate? or What is different today than it was a year ago that I’m thankful for? (source: 17 gratitude-prompting questions for your Gratitude Journal).  You can just think of these or stop and write in a journal.
  • While you are walking, make sure to be present and pay attention Nature around you.  Pay attention to all your senses. What are you seeing? What are you smelling? hearing? feeling? Be grateful for all Mother Nature has to offer us.
  • Breathe and pause and be grateful for the air you are breathing that is also making your life possible.
  • Use affirmations:  I thank you for____________ or find some quotes and repeat these like a mantra on your walk.

There is so much research on being grateful.  Take some time out of your day daily to express gratitude!

Happy Thanksgiving!

P.S. One of the reasons I love ChiWalking is because it offers a variety of walks for you to take. This is from the ChiWalking book.ChiWalking Matrix

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)

We placed last at Ragnar!!


This gallery contains 12 photos.

….and My Story Runs On…. Yep!  I didn’t just use this catchy blog title just for the heck of it, both of our teams were 2 of the last 3 teams to cross the finish line at the Ragnar Trail … Continue reading

Completely Exposing Myself….

….and My Story Runs On….

I’ve decided to just go ahead and let it all out!  I debated whether I should do this or not….I’m a true believer in being authentic and I’ve learned that showing vulnerability is not a bad thing at all.


So here it goes…..

I’m going to share my personal video analysis and Danny Dreyer’s (founder of ChiRunning) critique of my ChiRunning form.  Keep in mind that I started using this form back in 2009, became Certified in 2010 and have been practicing ever since. (Click here and scroll to bottom of the page to see the evolution of my immersion into ChiRunning).

One of the things I love most about ChiRunning is that it’s truly a holistic practice.  We like to say Practice Makes Progress (not perfect) because we are always looking for ways to keep getting better and better at it.  I always tell my students that you get what you put into it.  Even Danny Dreyer has aha moments as he works on “perfecting” his form.

Anyways, here is the video.  Danny gave me specific directions to

“Be pretty nitpicky. This way I can see how good your critical eye is, and also how good your form is.”

The video is 7:37 minutes but note how many “nitpicky” things I found in my own form.

Here is Danny’s email back to me after his review:

“You did a fabulous job of nitpicking your form! Below are some of my comments to add to what you saw.
Foot splay in the flight phase on both feet. Only very slight in the right foot… not enough to worry about. When you were running in a counter-clockwise arc you were pointing your right foot as it swung forward and you were dorsiflexing your left foot as it swung forward. This was accentuated because of the curve and less obvious when running straight.
Landing on the outside of the feet is fine. It creates a natural pronation and makes a midfoot landing softer.
Much of your leg work would improve if your stride were a bit shorter. This would prevent any overuse of your lower legs, reduce over-pronation and help keep your cadence up around 177 where it should be. It’s a more efficient gear for you.
Good alignment and lean
Right calf is pre-firing and plantar flexing for stability but I don’t see it used for propulsion.
Left ankle is dorsiflexing but not heel striking. On both feet you’re landing below your knees, which is great.
Slight upper body rotation: right elbow comes back behind you. Left elbow not as much. I’d say that the main thing you need to work on is your armswing… everything else is very close to right on. With your arms, let your elbows swing in the direction your arms are aligned. When you’re holding an imaginary volleyball your hands are closer to your centerline and your elbows are wider because they’re angled out a bit. The reason why your shoulders rotate is because your elbows are not following the line set up by the volleyball, but instead they’re swinging directly rearward and not rearward at a slight angle to each side… in a “V” shape. Swinging your elbow straight back pulls your shoulder with it. Swinging your elbow in a “V” shape doesn’t.
A small amount of vertical motion is a good thing. If you had no vertical motion, you’d be walking. It’s necessary. But, we teach pelvic rotation just to insure that people aren’t bouncing more than they need to.
I’m happy to go over any of this with you on Skype, so I can demonstrate what’s happening….. You’re doing a fabulous job in many ways.
Keep up the good work.

Yesterday I had the privilege of talking to Danny via Google Hangout to discuss my video even further.  We worked on my right arm swing a bit and now I’m excited because I have some more things to focus on when I’m running.

Moral of the story: 


Just because I’ve been teaching and practicing for awhile, doesn’t mean I can’t learn and become a stronger runner.  It wasn’t easy being vulnerable and having the founder of ChiRunning critique my form but boy am I am re-energized and motivated to keep working on it. The better I get, the more I can help my students get better too!

I do video analysis in my 4-hour ChiRunning workshops.  Students tell me this is the most valuable part of the class. There is nothing like making that mind/body connection by seeing what your body is doing so you can correct it.

Although I was pretty nervous about this whole process, I’m so grateful because ChiRunning has changed my life both professionally and personally.  I continue to look forward to helping injured runners change their form so they won’t be injured anymore AND show brand new runners that running doesn’t have to be painful or hard.

“It’s not running that causes pain, but HOW you do it.” Danny Dreyer

P.S  Not sure if you are Ted Talk fan but here is a great one on The Power of Vulnerability from Brene Brown.

From My Running Story to Yours….
(if you feel inspired to share your comments, do so below…I want to hear your story too!)