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.


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