Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Too Hot to Run?

"7But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in him. 8 They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit." -- Jeremiah 17:7-8
Looking at the weather forecast for the US today, about the only thing you can say is, "It's hot!"

Some may be thinking it's too hot to run. I've heard (or read) people making remarks like, "It's too hot to run outside," or "I can't motivate myself to run in this heat when I'm not training for anything." So some choose to stay in the air conditioning and run on the treadmill, and others choose not to run at all, to wait until cooler weather prevails.

As for me, I'll just keep running, trusting in the Lord to get me through.

It's not that the heat doesn't affect me. It certainly does, probably worse than most others. But I hate a treadmill. I mean, I HATE A TREADMILL! I'd rather run a little outside than ANY on a treadmill. The contraption's common nicknames among runners, "dreadmill" and "hamster wheel," are well-deserved. I can't think of anything more boring.

And training? I'm always training for something. Sometimes I may not know yet what that is, but I'm always training for something. A few weeks after the Little Rock Marathon earlier this year, I told some running friends I was doing a 20 miler that weekend. One asked, "What are you training for?" My response, "I just don't want to lose what I've gained."
"Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever." -- 1 Corinthians 9:25
That sums it up really for me. God has blessed me with the gift to run, a gift that most likely saved me from doing terrible things and making terrible decisions after my daughter was murdered. He has given me this gift to make good things come from the worst tragedy of my life. If I stop running because it gets a little warm outside it would be like telling God, "Thanks, but I'm tired of this."

The truth is, running keeps me sane even now. We're visiting family in North Carolina right now and just yesterday I was looking around and remembering earlier times when Amanda was here. I could picture her driving her grandfather's tractor, riding his horse, and driving his truck across the field. On the way back from running this morning, I noticed the upstairs window where she and Courtney used to stay when we were here. If I didn't have the ability to get out and run, these thoughts and memories would drive me completely insane.
" If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you." -- James 1:5
So no, it's not too hot to run, just time to make some adjustments.

Last week's long runs proved a disaster. The heat and humidity sapped me way too early. So this week I'm making some changes for tomorrow and Saturday's planned 13 mile runs.

I've been doing 5-mile repeats since the mercury began to rise--run 5 miles, return to the car to rehydrate and take in fuel, then run 5 more, repeating this until completing the mileage needed for that day. This week I'm going to back that down to 3 mile repeats. It will mean more breaks and lost time, but I'm hoping it will make it easier to finish the long runs.

When it's cooler, I can usually rehydrate between my sets with just water. But I'm an excessive sweater, and that means I deplete my body's stores of a lot more than water in the heat. Nutrients like Sodium and Potassium and who knows what else are flushed out this time of year. So rehydrating means consuming sports drinks engineered to replenish these. Last week I tried Powerade because it was the cheapest sports drink in the store. This week I'm switching to Gatorade to see if I get better results.

Last winter I found that plain M & M's were sufficient to refuel on long runs. Every 5 miles I took in a half a pack and felt great, even at the Little Rock Marathon in March. But last week proved the melt-in-you-moutn-not-in-your-hand candy proved insufficient. So I headed to the sporting goods store this week and picked up some Cliff Shot gels to try. Just like with the sports drink, these are engineered to replenish your body's stores of necessary nutrients that vacate the body on long, hot runs.

So tomorrow I'll try these adjustments and see how things go. I know that God will get me through it, but He expects me to use good sense and do my part as well.

Check back later in the week to find out how these changes worked.



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