Wednesday, June 27, 2007

I love it when my body adapts

It happens every summer. We go from winter to summer in a matter a days and I find myself feeling just crummy during my hot weather runs. I've really been struggling the past two weeks running as it's been pretty darn warm for June in Chicago.

I keep repeating the hot weather mantra to remind myself that my body needs time to acclimate and adapt to running in the heat. It is very much like acclimating to the altitude, only it involves the body cooling itself rather than learning to function with less oxygen. It's plain and simple. My body simply needs to make friends with summer.

Well, today I am happy to report I bonded with Summer. I ran in 82 degree heat, which doesn't sound bad until you include the humidity at 90%! It was hot and I was happy. Not only was I able to run, but I ran a pretty descent Tempo pace too. Giddyup!

So my friends, if you are struggling with running in the heat and humidity take note...your body will adapt after about 2 weeks of running in warmer conditions. It will only do so if you are outdoors running in it and allowing your body to get really efficient at cooling the body. Until it does, take it slow and easy and repeat my mantra. "Slow and steady until my body makes friends with the heat."

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Happy Trails,

Coach Jenny

Friday, June 15, 2007

Cicada Madness

Okay, I promise this will be my last mention of cicadas for a few more decades. I can't help but be completely amazed at these exotic-alien like insects that grace us with their presence once every 17 years. For those that aren't in the midwest, the cicadas are insects with big red eyes on the side of their heads and transluscent wings. At first they are scary looking and then you kind of warm up to them (at least I did). They are one of the most widely recognized of all insects, mainly due to their large size and remarkable (and often inescapable) acoustic talents.

I have been on the trail all week mountain biking and running to the symphony of the cicadas. It is so loud, I couldn't even hear my ipod so I turned it off and just took it all in. What a gift. I can't remember the last time they were here, but I know I will remember this time because I was doing something I love.

The truly amazing part to me is they only live for a few weeks. Trillions of cicadas live underground sucking the sap off trees for 17 years. They hatch and emerge out of the ground for only a few weeks. They climb up trees and transform themselves from nymphs to adults. The next few weeks of their lives are focused on their sole purpose - to reproduce. The males sing in chorus and the males and females take flight "to get to know one another better". The females lay their eggs in tree branches and then they die. The eggs hatch and the babies fall from the trees and burrow into the ground, not to be seen again for another 17 years.

I can't help but think life is short and you have to live like a cicada and make the most of the time you have here. I never thought a trail run with insects could be so profound, but I guess that is really what it is all about... Oh, and if you want to watch a cool video about it click HERE.

Happy Trails,


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Monday, June 11, 2007

Happy Trails

It has been awhile since my last post. I finished up a long spring of travel and just needed some defrag time on the laptop. Thanks for your patience.

The good news is I have been catching up on my trail runs and feeling like I have a strong base again. Travel is tough on the running schedule. You can still run, but the quality is not the same. I am happy to be back in the saddle again.

Around here the big news is the cecadas. They are insects that come around every 17 years to reproduce and lay their eggs. You can see them everywhere and hear them too! It makes me think about the last time I saw them. I was 23 and just starting my running career... that made me feel pretty darn good - I've been a runner for 17 years. I never thought I could be a runner. It just goes to show you, never say never. The view is much better when I'm running. Life is good.

Happy Trails,

Coach Jenny

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