Sunday, September 28, 2014

What a Difference a Year Makes

The end of this month marks my one year anniversary of my first day at Terrain Gym. The result? I have been injury-free for over a year for the first time since before 2008; I am running higher mileage than I have since the summer of 2009 and I am physically fitter than I have ever been.

Training at 6,000+ feet: Hannegan Peak
Bulgarian Split Squat, aka Ouch!
My good health also stems from the consistent work of Chris Lockwood, DC of Align Chiropractic. I receive adjustments from Dr. Lockwood at least twice a week. It is Dr. Lockwood who introduced me to Tonia (coach and owner of Terrain Gym) 12 months ago. If not for him I would be much weaker and injured and certainly not able to reach my full potential. For this and so much more, I am very grateful.

One-arm bench press.
Admittedly, it was really hard for me to embrace going to the gym at first – even though I knew it was the missing piece of my training. My legs were too tired. It was cold in there and I was used to the humid heat of the yoga studio. I didn't know what I was doing. Anytime you are put in an environment where you are clearly not the expert, it is truly humbling. There was a whole new language to learn, a new skill set to acquire. I felt weak and wimpy. I wanted to wear a sign on my back that said, ‘Give me a break; I am running 75 miles a week!’ Of course no one ever made me feel unwelcome; it was quite the opposite. It was all in my head, trying to deal with my insecurities.
Ab wheelin'.

Then, at some point, I started to see—and feel—a change. I started to get a high from the work I was doing, a feeling that I thought only running could produce. I started to acknowledge progress. I started to become comfortable in this new environment. And I liked it.

I now go to Terrain 2-3 times a week before my daily easy runs. I love the way it makes me feel, I love the positive supportive environment and I love knowing that I am doing everything that I can to be a strong, durable and mobile athlete. I am inspired by the people who are committed to going every day. They are firefighters, mothers, mountain rescuers and doctors. They don’t necessarily have a race to prepare for, but their work ethic is as great as any professional athlete. I am thankful to have Tonia as a female role model in my life. She is so strong and tough and just plain cool. She is just what you want in a coach. She will call you out when you are being a sissy and will push you out of your comfort zone. She is encouraging and motivates me to do my best. She also has a great taste in music.

...and down.
One-legged hinge lift up...

People often ask me if all of the strength has helped my running. Truthfully, this extra training has made me extra tired for my runs. Some workouts I am not able to hit the times that I want and other days I nail them. Tonia said it may take over a year to see the work translate through to my running.  After all, it’s about the big picture; being patient and consistent. If I made this much progress in the past 12 months, I am excited to see where I will be this time next year.

In three weeks I will be running the USATF Half Marathon Trail Championships here in Bellingham on the Lake Padden trails that I train on almost every day. I am very proud of all that Bellingham has to offer and I look forward to showing off our town and trails to my out of state running buddies.
La Sportiva Crossover GTX

In preparation for the pending rainy season I got a pair of the La Sportiva Crossovers. They have a Gortex body with a built-in gaiter which is perfect for the soggy winter Northwest Trails and for my morning commute to and from Terrain Gym. And if you’re wondering why I’m running so slow, give me a break; I just did 700 step-ups in a 25 pound vest!

Our favorite summer mountain run yet: Yellow Aster Butte
(Apologies for the finger cameo and Tad's head.)

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