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

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Weekly Journal 6/18 to 6/24

"Be wise in the way you act toward outsiders; make the most of every opportunity." -- Colossians 4:15
This might have been the toughest week of the year. Heat and humidity are taking their toll. It started out well, feeling great after last Saturday's 15 mile long run. But as the week wore on, things turned south.

I've been focusing this week on pace, trying to stick as close as possible to a 10-minute-mile. Last week on the 15 miler we managed it pretty easily so it seemed like a reasonable goal for 6 shorter runs this week.

It wasn't. Or at least, it wasn't by the end of the week.

On Monday I was still feeling great when I knocked out 5 miles and averaged a 9:17 pace. It may have been a result of lingering euphoria from Saturday's long run, or maybe coming off my rest day on Sunday, but the legs just took over and everything worked like it was supposed to. Rarely ever is my best run of the week on Monday, but it sure was this week.

Tuesday was a good run too, but at a little more moderate pace. At a 9:49 mile, I was pretty satisfied after 6. This was really shaping up to be a great week, but things would change rapidly.

After Wednesday's 5 miles at 9:43 pace, I could feel the tiredness creeping into my muscles. Still, I was really happy with the run and my pace. I'd finished 16 miles already in the first three days of the week, ahead of my target 10 minute pace. I was feeling extremely confident the rest of the week would go as well.

Thursday proved me wrong. I set out with a goal of running 6 miles. Three miles in I was averaging just under a 9:50 pace, right where I wanted to be. But by the time I reached the turnaround, I was feeling much different than I had earlier in the week. I pushed on through the 4th mile, convinced I could keep up the pace. I was right on pace at 9:50 when I completed the 4th mile, but everything fell apart just before mile 4.5. I mean, I CRASHED AND BURNED! Completely depleted, I walked the last mile and a half.

I knew something had gone terribly wrong and made some changes to prepare for Friday's 12 miles. Salt tablets, Powerade, and lots of water Thursday night convinced me I was ready to go. Still feeling a little tired from the crash on Thursday, I managed to average right at a 10 minute mile for the first 8. Then came the Friday crash. Miles 8 to 10 became an alternating run/walk, then I walked miles 10 to 12 to finish. I had to go back to the drawing board if I was going to get 12 more in on Saturday.

My plan for Friday afternoon and night was more salt, more Powerade, and more rest. When I woke Saturday morning I was feeling well, ready to go and confident I could make it. I also decided I would slow the pace, drop it by a minute or so. That would surely get me through the entire 12. For 7.5 miles, it felt like it was going to work. Then came the crash. Again, it was a run/walk the rest of the way.

Pretty much a rough end to what started out a good training week.

Training Week: June 18 - June 24

Monday5 miles
Tuesday6 miles
Wednesday5 miles
Thursday4.5 miles
Friday12 miles
Saturday12 miles
Sunday0 miles
Total44.5 miles

When it gets this tough, when the heat and humidity turns runs that were enjoyable into barely survivable events, there's an overwhelming urge to quit, to just pack it in and stop running until the weather turns. The problem is that here in the south we can't expect lasting relief from current conditions until at least September. That means we'd have to quit running for 3 months if we let this temptation get control.
"No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it." -- 1 Corinthians 10:13
Thankfully, just like every other challenging spot we find ourselves in throughout life, this one has a way out. God has provided it. It might mean slowing down. It might mean converting to a run/walk strategy. It might mean carrying more water. But there is a way out, to survive the sultry summer surroundings.

It's up to us to find it. That might mean a change in strategy and that's what I'm going to try this week.
"18 Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a mat and tried to take him into the house to lay him before Jesus. 19 When they could not find a way to do this because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and lowered him on his mat through the tiles into the middle of the crowd, right in front of Jesus." -- Luke 5:18-19
The secret to finding a way to be successful when it seems everything is arrayed against you, in conditions that make it seemingly impossible to prevail, is faith. Just believe! Believe in the ability of Jesus Christ to make it happen.

Just like the men who carried the crippled man to see Jesus. They believed with everything in them that our Lord and Savior could heal their friend. That faith, that deep-seated, unshakeable faith motivated them to not give up when blocked by the crowd. Instead, they pushed on. Not according to their original plan, but they adapted and overcame. They made it in to see Jesus and their friend was healed.
He replied, "Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, 'Move from here to there' and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you." -- Matthew 17:20
Jesus told us himself that faith can move mountains. If that's so, I think it can get us through a little heat and humidity too.

This week I'm going to make a few more changes and see if I can't get some better results. Check back next week to see how they worked. :)

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

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