Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Perspective: Running At Altitude

As Jamie and I continue our training in an effort to complete the 40th Marine Corps Marathon (and our third) in Washington DC this October, we have taken the training as a great opportunity to explore as well. By the way, want to join us on team Nuru this fall?

Yesterday, we ran about six miles along the South Platte River in Littleton, Colorado. The weather was absolutely beautiful. The sun was shining, and this river was just stunning to take in as we ran. But as we ran, we also had the realization we were running at an altitude higher than any point in our home state of West Virginia. Amazingly we were keeping up a faster pace than our typical longer runs, and we were feeling great...but our hearts and lungs were working harder to keep us going. I think I was averaging about 170 bpm for our little jog, but we both felt great. There are many elite athletes who train for long periods at higher altitudes because it makes their bodies more efficiently use oxygen--we won't be in Colorado long enough to take advantage of that perk tho.

And while our bodies were working a lot harder in this unfamiliar altitude, I think that because we have been very disciplined with our training and fitness, we were able to adjust somewhat well. And running at altitude gave me a different perspective than what I had anticipated. I had anticipated the hard work of my lungs and heart, along with great conversations as we explored this little riverside trail together, but I was granted something more.

It was this. Sometimes we need to change up our routines and rhythms to get fresh perspective. As we journeyed along the South Platte, our bodies were working hard, and every step afforded us a view of something largely unfamiliar to us. Whether it was snow capped mountains to the West or the fast running flow of a wide and shallow mountain stream there was a freshness and a crispness to the images and the air.

As we ran, I began thinking about the little miracles we have opportunity to see each day, if we just get out of our ruts and routines and take a look around us. Sure there are a number of hurts and tragedies in this world, and probably every person who is reading this has found themselves the victim of some hurt over the course of their life. But, at the same time, we have been given incredible gifts. We have been given today. We have been given an opportunity at a fresh start. We have been given an opportunity to either keep moving or start moving.

And if we start, while there's no guarantee that tomorrow will be better, it seems like it is a whole lot easier to keep going.

As we ran, Jamie and I reflected back to a run we took together in Westminster, Colorado two years ago as part of training for our first marathon. We didn't run as far. We didn't run as fast. And we were really tired at the end of our jog. But this time, we were able to go far, go fast, and we weren't nearly as tired. We have introduced a variety of habits into our lives related to fitness, to emotional well-being, spiritual growth, and mental sharpness during our journey together, but we shift the way we engage and develop those habits, and it keeps us fresh, it keeps us moving, and it keeps our perspective not on the mountains ahead, or the hurts of the past, but on the blessings of the present.

Wherever you find yourself today, may you be able to take time for some fresh perspective and some fresh air along the way. Keep moving!

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