Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Gaining Strength in the Face of Adversity

As another August in my life winds down to completion, I am given pause to reflect on events of the month. It has been mentioned in more runners' tweets and blog posts this summer than most any other topic, but I will mention it again. This summer has been HOT and August was no exception. Over one 26 day stretch the daily highs never tarried under 96 F.

To say this had no effect on runners' training efforts is to beg insanity. But the real question, though, as the air temperature cools and humidity drops, is "Has it had a positive effect or a negative one?" Is it possible that the extreme conditions could have had done more good than bad? It all depends on how the runner has responded to the negative conditions. Proper hydration and nutrition and a healthy respect for the elements will go a long way towards insuring that training efforts are productive and not destructive.

On a particularly rewarding interval workout this morning, this writer was reminded of the physiological reality of the human body's reaction to stress. On the cellular level, the body must find a way to get the right amount of nutrients to muscle cells as they are put under extreme stress. The hotter the ambient air temp, the harder the cells must work to provide nutrients AND cool the body. So, it must not come as a surprise that cooler, drier air taxes the body less. The beauty of the bio-physics was experienced this morning and greatly welcomed.

As the layers of the training envelope are peeled back, it is expected that a more conditioned body will emerge. Though it has been hard to detect much improvement this summer, a glimpse of that anticipated conditioning is emerging. This body is gaining strength. This writer is beginning to see some flickers of light at the end of the steamy tunnel. Join in a welcoming hand of applause to fall weather. Join in praising God for the beauty of this world and the miraculous, indomitable human spirit.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Finally Committed

Don't let the title fool you. Though, it would probably be reasonable to assume I could be committed to an institution, that is not what this post is about. Just the past week, I finally decided for sure that I would be running the Marine Corps marathon in Washington D.C. in October. For the past three months I have been quite ambivalent about it because of the logistics of finding time to make the trip and physically getting to Washington. I guess the biggest obstacle was monetary but I have decided that this is a race I am meant to do and I will some way find the money to get there. In addition to being a participant I have decided to join the racing team representing the national Alzheimer's Association . I have committed to raising money for the research foundation that is concerned with finding a cure for Alzheimer's and giving support to those who have the disease and the families of those who have it. Since I have a family member that is diagnosed with it, I feel a strong draw to doing something to help the cause.

Thankfully I had planned ahead enough to at least register and be accepted to the race and begin training. As a matter of fact I am presently in week 12 of a 22 week plan and staying right on course. This summer has been a rough one making training especially challenging and I am thankful to be on schedule with my mileage. The weekly totals continue to increase, however, and I have got to get tough and stay true to the schedule. I think the tougher part, now, is going to be the fund-raising I have to do for the ALZ Stars (Alzheimer's running group). I have never been one to participate in a cause, but I feel this is one to which I can lend my efforts. I am now fully committed to running the MCM and honorably representing those who have been affected in some way by Alzheimer's.