Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Curious Case of the CORE!

“Guys, we have to work on our core” was a constant statement every week from the time we decided to venture on this heroic journey.
The core muscles to me just meant “abs” and I always associated it with either sports stars or a Hrithik Roshan/Brad Pit Greek God looking super star.
All of us have “core” muscles that are hidden deep in layers of fascia aka fat. Without these muscles we would not be able to stand, sit, walk or even just hold our body erect. These muscles are the drones of our body working nonstop without us realizing it.
So, in the last two weeks we muster the courage to actually test our core with the dreaded PLANK. We wanted to go 1 minute and I thought “ya, shouldn’t be too hard.” That was literally the longest 1 minute of my life. If you think time flies, do the plank for a minute! (this was after the usual practice run, in my defense.)
My arms and legs shaking, I said all the Gods names that I knew off and demanded a countdown from 50 seconds just to know at which second I can drop. Then came the side plank that was the real killer. We did 30 seconds on each side and I felt all my insides being crushed and squeezed from all sides. At that point I thought running was the easy part.
To my surprise the next day I felt fine and infact a little stronger maybe (could just be my imagination after building my abs for a day!). The interesting part about the core is that, since we constantly use those muscle groups the recovery rate is very quick and they respond and adapt to high workloads quickly. I don’t mean that I will  get  “6 pack abs” or even a 2 pack, but my core will get stronger and hopefully make the long distance running easier. 
Last week I pushed the limit by going 1.5 minutes on the plank and 45 seconds on the side plank. Now I truly  feel the difference (not see) from when I started and I hope my theories on the core muscles are actually true!
Today we ran close to 14 miles, which was tough no doubt but I believe my core did not let me down and it made the run a little bit easier and even a little enjoyable.
I now have a new found respect for the core muscles and maybe, just maybe I can join the group of “stars”  someday!. Well, or maybe I should stop dreaming, keep running and hold the dreaded plank longer and longer and longer. For now, 1.5 minutes for me is HUGE!
-          Aparna Chitharanjan 

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