The week before last was pretty routine and uneventful in my running/pole fitness adventures, but I was busy with work so I didn’t get much time for an update. Last week, we hit the two month mark until the Northeast Pole Championships (NEPC), which was already nerve wracking. Pole Sport Organization (PSO) sends you the list of competitors and the category they will be competing in after the registration deadline closes. Well, it closed on Monday, September 18th and the very next day, we received an email from PSO with The List.
I feel extremely out of my league for this competition. I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t feel just a little crushed when I saw some of the names on the list. I expected some big names, but a handful of the women that will be competing are my pole role models. I save their Instagram videos and try to copy their combos and tricks – and now I have to compete against them. I generally don’t care about what people think of me, but when I saw that list I felt like my name didn’t belong on it.
I’m not usually someone who is negative or self-doubting, so those feelings passed after a few days. I still feel like I’m way out of my league, but I’m determined to show up to NEPC with a killer routine. I HAVE a killer routine, I just have to work on cleaning it up so the execution is flawless. I know I won’t win, but my goal is to look like I belong in that division. There are 13 people in my division. To give you a glimpse of the amazing talent I get to share a stage with, here is a video of one of my competitors from when she won the pro division at APC in 2016. You might want to fast forward until about the one minute mark if you want to just see the pole tricks and not the performance stuff:
Seeing that list might have been the motivation I needed, because I felt like I was at a plateau with my routine and it just wasn’t getting any better. It still needs soooo much work, but it started to feel a LITTLE bit better last week. Training for a pole competition is so much like training for a marathon. You have days where it feels effortless. You feel light and agile and everything seems to be coming together. Then, the next day, you feel like you put on a hundred pounds, your muscles feel like lead, and you feel like you’ve never touched a pole (or laced up a pair of running sneakers) a day in your life. The highs and lows are tremendous and much like marathon training.
I’m really struggling with the pole training aspect this time around because my routine is much more challenging (for me) than my previous routine. There are more tricks, most of them harder and it’s actually packed into a shorter amount of time. My last song was a little over four minutes, but this one is just shy of three and a half minutes long. I can’t take the same training approach to this routine or I will get injured. I was so obsessed for awhile that I realized well over a month went by and I hadn’t taken a day off of pole – on top of running six days per week. So I did what I know how to do best and what running has trained me to do. I made a spreadsheet. I translated my pole workouts it into running terms. Yep, I’m a huge nerd.
In a successful marathon training program, I wouldn’t do a track workout, tempo run, and long run back to back. That would be physically impossible for me – especially if I expected to produce results, show improvement, and complete quality workouts. In theory, this is what I’ve been doing to train for my competition. Every single day is a hard day. If I saw a marathon training plan built like this, I’d never choose it because I’d know that I would never improve and there would be a high risk for injury.
While the effort is different here, with pole being a more strength focused workout and running being more cardio focused, the theory and approach is almost the same. Your muscle groups can only take so much before you need to take it easy or rest completely. It’s harder for me to pick and choose when I do my harder days at pole since I’m at the mercy of the studio schedule (and work schedule, boo!). I can plan my rest days and ensure that I actually take one, so I’m forcing myself to take one per week. This week, my brother is getting married and I’m going to have a lot of company at my house, so it’s likely I’m taking three whole days off. Of course I’m stressing about it, but I know my body will probably respond really well to the extra rest.
So last week ended up looking a bit like this:
- Monday – AM 4 mile run, PM pole conditioning class and competition prep
- Tuesday – AM 5 mile run, PM competition prep and booty class
- Wednesday – PM Level 3 Pole class and competition prep
- Thursday – 4 mile run and competition prep class
- Friday – 4 mile run; OFF of pole
- Saturday – 6 mile run, pole conditioning
- Sunday – 5 mile run with one mile at marathon pace (6:45); competition prep
Oh yeah, side note: I decided to start slowly getting some speed back in my legs so maybe I have a shot at sub-3 in Boston or at a spring marathon (I’m eying up the Eugene Marathon, any takers?). The drive to run a fast marathon is starting to return, so lets see if my legs will agree with my head. That one marathon paced mile felt pretty good, and it was the last run of the week so my legs weren’t exactly fresh. It’s a small victory, but it’s one mile closer than I was last week! I really hope to run a few local races around the holidays to test my speed and motivation, so this might be a step in the right direction.
Anyone interested in the Eugene Marathon? Have you ever done something where you know you are in way over your head, but decide you’re going togive it your all anyway?