I was so excited when we had a major snow storm to start off the year in January because I love running in the snow. Our local CBS news stopped Bob and I during that storm to interview us since not many people were out at 5:30am (Interview starts at 46 sec). Despite my initial excitement, I quickly got tired of winter and running in negative wind chills day after day.
Maybe I’ll Stop Calling It The Dreadmill
The real challenge was that between the snow, ice, and freezing wind, it was nearly impossible to get in the quality track workouts I enjoy as part of my training. Many may say speed work is not necessary for an ultra but I feel as though it helps with my overall fitness and confidence. Fortunately, Western States 100 is in June but the main concern was for The Boston Marathon on April 21st. As the race got closer, I realized my best option for speed work was some thing I have avoided since I began running… The DREADMILL!
Running indoors on a machine is unappealing to me on many levels. I felt as though I didn’t have many options and like other aspects of my life, I realized my attitude would be critical for it to work. I decided to focus on two areas to help embrace the idea of running on a treadmill.
First was the benefit of running at a consistent pace. While maintaining a rhythm on a track is easier than on the road, it is something I can work on. However the machine removed that from the equation. The other benefit I focused on, rather than being bored, was on my running form. Using the reflection in the window as I ran allowed me to visually see when I looked relaxed as opposed to tense. I could see when I got tired and my shoulders would raise as the pace increased.
Trying this new approach to training seemed to work as I ran a new 5k PR on March 16th. This is the first time I have ever had a PR this early in the season and the only difference to my training was my indoor speed work. While this was reassuring, this is not an approach I plan to try again unless forced to!
Trying New Things To Strengthen My Faith
Trying new things extended beyond my running and into spiritual life. Last September I was asked to be a part of a Men’s Bible study on Tuesday mornings. It may not seem like a big deal but I like keeping my routine and Tuesday is normally my day to train at the track.
I decided to give the group a try since I had just finished the Leadville 100 in August and was planning to run Pinhoti 100 in November. I felt like I had some flexibility until early 2014 based on this schedule and diving into the Book of Daniel was too good to pass up. I was not disappointed! These guys were so passionate about studying the Word and their knowledge of scripture humbled me. It has been a blessing to learn from them through the Holy Spirit. The study and the discussions made me further reflect on what I should be doing.
This led me to a new practice where I began reading a bible verse with my kids each night before bed. I have always sung to them but as my son towers over me at 15, singing lullabies to him hasn’t occurred in a while. I decided this would help us connect before bed as well as help the 3 girls in their relationship with our Lord. It has been wonderful!
I have been amazed as they ask for further clarification on the meaning of certain passages. They have pointed out verses in church that they remember reading at night or have picked up on these verses in Christian songs. I pray that these new rituals will guide them in years to come.
Just Do It!
It seems like many of us want to wait for the right time to try something new. We want to have everything in order, have enough money, or be thoroughly prepared. Over the last 12 months I have learned that sometimes we may need to just try something new. If it doesn’t work out, then we don’t have to continue doing it. I hope you will think about something you may be willing to try after reading this.
Whatever it is, make 2014 the year you put yourself out there and try something new!